wellness

  • Billie Eilish shares meme calling out headline that criticized her 'Vogue' cover

    "Proof that women can change their minds and reclaim autonomy over their own bodies," read an Instagram post shared by the singer.

  • Sailor Brinkley Cook shares inspirational message after 'dark' mental health period: 'This is your sign to keep going'

    The model reassured fans struggling with mental health. "The world needs you around."

  • Study Finds This Slashes Your Cancer Risk Bigtime

    Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in American adults, closely behind heart disease. While there are some risk factors for both that are beyond control—including genetics and age—scientific research has established there are a number of things you can do to help keep the big C at bay. Now, a study has identified one simple lifestyle habit that can help prevent both from occurring. Read on to find out what it is, as well as what the CDC says you can do about it—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Can Help Lower Your Cancer Risk, Says Study According to the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a heart-healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk of developing cancer—in addition to keeping heart disease away. "CVD risk, as captured by traditional CVD risk factors, 10-year ASCVD risk score, and natriuretic peptide concentrations are associated with increased risk of future cancer," the study concludes. "Conversely, a heart healthy lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of future cancer. These data suggest that the association between CVD and future cancer is attributable to shared risk factors." 2 A Less Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Can Increase Your Cancer Risk "We found an association between a heart-healthy lifestyle and a lower risk of cancer, and the opposite is true: that a less heart-healthy lifestyle is also associated with higher risk of cancer," Emily Lau, a researcher on the study who works in the division of cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a press release accompanying the study. As part of their research, they analyzed data from over 20,000 people who were part of two large health studies, focusing on those who developed cancer or cardiovascular disease during the study. They determined that with the most natriuretic peptides had a 40% greater chance of developing cancer.Overall, they found that study participants who adapted a heart-healthy lifestyle—managed their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and who were not significantly overweight—were at a lower risk of developing cancer. And, those who were non smokers were significantly less likely to develop both cancer and heart disease. 3 How to Have a Heart Healthy Lifestyle, According to the CDC The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several strategies on how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Diet is one of the most crucial. "Make healthy food choices like more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Eat less salt, saturated fat, and added sugar," they suggest. Keep reading for their other tips. 4 Learn Your Health History "Know your risks and talk to your family and doctor about your health history," says the CDC. "Your doctor can use it to develop a more complete picture of your health and your risk factors for disease. Together you can work on ways to reduce that risk." 5 Move More, Sit Less "Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week," says the CDC.RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers 6 Rethink Your Drink "Substitute water for sugary drinks to reduce calories. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation," says the CDC. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • 21 Tips That Improve Your Memory, According to Doctors

    Ever entered a room and then wondered why? You know you went in for something, but was it to grab your keys, or your headphones, or to turn off the lights? You remember soon enough, but the momentary blip raises a concern: Are you losing your memory? Is it already lost?Relax for a second, and remember this: You can prevent this from happening.Science used to think of brain functions, like memory, as semi-mystical processes that were out of our control. Forgetfulness and cognitive decline was accepted as a natural part of aging. Today, we know neither is true. Although there's no guarantee that you'll be grabbing grand prizes on Jeopardy! in your golden years, there are plenty of easy, even fun, things you can do to prevent memory loss. Read on to discover Eat This, Not That! Health's top 21, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 Drink Coffee Good news, java junkies: Your daily habit can be good for your brain. Several studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on memory—and the benefits are most pronounced in the people of middle age and over 65. Memory peaks in the morning and declines over the day, but research published in the journal Psychological Science found that older adults who drank two cups of coffee didn't suffer this "time-of-day" effect.The Rx: Drink up. Just don't exceed 300mg of caffeine a day, which is about three cups of drip coffee. 2 Exercise You knew that physical activity was good for your heart, but did you realize it can literally pump up your brain? Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise actually increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory storage.The Rx: The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, like jogging or swimming. 3 Stay Mentally Active Just as physical exercise helps keep your body fit, mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape—and might keep memory loss at bay.The Rx: Read or do crossword puzzles. Play cards or computer games. Volunteer at a local charity or school. Take different routes when driving. Learn to play a musical instrument. 4 Treat Depression We're learning more all the time about the far-reaching effects depression can have on our health, from increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease to impairing memory. A study published in the journal Neurology found that people with symptoms of depression had worse episodic memory, a smaller brain volume, and a larger number of vascular lesions. "With as many as 25 percent of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, it's important to better understand the relationship between depression and memory problems," said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Ph.D., MS, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.The Rx: If you're experiencing chronic sadness, low mood or a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy, talk to your doctor. 5 Socialize Hanging out with friends can count as a workout for your brain. According to a University of Michigan study, spending just 10 minutes talking with a friend can yield significant improvements in memory and overall cognitive ability.The Rx: Call or Skype with relatives and friends. Go to the gym. Take classes. Just don't spend too much time on social media like Facebook: That's correlated with a higher risk of depression. 6 Reduce Stress Relax more. If you don't learn to let some things go, you might lose your memory. Researchers at the University of Iowa have linked the stress hormone cortisol to short-term memory loss in older adults.The Rx: Mindfulness, meditation, unplugging from social media and TV, and regular physical exercise are all very effective at reducing stress. 7 Get Enough Sleep During sleep, the body heals and recharges itself. The brain, in particular, flushes away toxins, which researchers found lowers the risk of Alzheimer's. Another study, published in the journal Neuroscience, found that people who were taught specific finger movements (like hitting piano keys) were better able to recall them after 12 hours of rest. "When you're asleep, it seems as though you are shifting memory to more efficient storage regions within the brain," said study author Matthew Walker, Ph.D., of the BIDMC's Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.The Rx: The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults of every age get seven to nine hours of sleep nightly—no more, no less. Oversleeping has been correlated with a higher risk of dementia. 8 Eat a Healthy Diet and Avoid Obesity A poor diet won't just add to your waistline—it can detract from your memory. A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology found that unhealthy eating habits can impact brain health. "People are eating away at their brain with a really bad fast-food diet and little-to-no exercise," said study author Nicholas Cherbuin, head of the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at the Australian National University. "We've found strong evidence that people's unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise for sustained periods of time puts them at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes and significant declines in brain function, such as dementia and brain shrinkage."The Rx: Keep your weight in a healthy range—your heart and blood pressure will benefit too. What specific diet has been correlated with better brain health? Read on to find out.RELATED: The #1 Cause of Obesity, According to Science 9 Eat Oysters How's this for a seductive proposition: Oysters are a rich source of zinc, which improves working memory among middle-aged and the elderly, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition.The Rx: Indulge in oysters every now and again. Other foods high in zinc include eggs, nuts, legumes and whole grains. 10 Eat Grapefruit The sour breakfast staple of yesteryear has only a sweet effect on your brain. Why? It's high in folic acid. Research published in The Lancet found that study subjects who consumed more folic acid had "significantly better" memory, information processing speed and sensorimotor speed than a group taking a placebo.The Rx: Add a half-grapefruit to your meal. One caveat: Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with some types of medication. Talk to your doctor. He might advise a multivitamin instead. Other foods that are high in folic acid include leafy green vegetables, other citrus fruits, beans (particularly black-eyed peas), avocados and bananas. 11 Practice Mindfulness Chilling out can keep your memory intact. Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara found that college students who did 45-minute meditation sessions four times a week scored 60 points higher on the GRE's verbal exam after just two weeks.The Rx: How do you practice mindfulness? It's the groundwork of meditation: Sit in a quiet place, breathe slowly, and concentrate on what you're thinking and feeling in the present moment. (Here's a quick guide.) 12 Eat Avocados It's time to join the millennials in ordering avocado toast: A 2017 study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that monounsaturated fatty acids — like those found in avocados — may improve organizational function in the brain, potentially boosting memory retention.The Rx: Add avocado to your diet, but don't overindulge: Nutritionists say one-quarter of an avocado equals one serving. Other foods rich in beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids include almonds, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, and olive oil. 13 Play Board Games Here's a good excuse to revisit the high human drama of Monopoly and Risk: Researchers at the Université Bordeaux Ségalen and the Institute for European Expertise in Physiology found that adult patients who regularly played board games were 15 percent less likely to develop dementia than their non-game-playing peers, and they experienced less depression as well.The Rx: Get playing. The researchers said bingo and card games count too.RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta 14 Sprinkle Some Cinnamon Add this spice to your life ASAP. A study published in PLoS One reveal that mice fed cinnamon extract exhibited fewer symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, including memory and cognitive issues, than a control group.The Rx: Top oatmeal with cinnamon, stir it into your coffee or sprinkle it onto whole-grain toast. 15 Enjoy Dark Chocolate Just like cinnamon, dark chocolate has been correlated with a healthier brain. A 2018 study at Loma Linda University found that eating just one serving of dark chocolate could boost memory, cognition, the immune system and mood.The Rx: Treat yourself to a few squares of dark chocolate regularly. Look for a bar that's at least 80 percent cacao.RELATED: The #1 Cause of Diabetes, According to Science 16 Eat Fruits and Vegetables Here's another reason to eat your greens (and all other colors of the rainbow): A 2018 study published in the journal Neurology surveyed 28,000 men; those who ate the most fruits and vegetables were the least likely to develop poor thinking skills. "Scientists speculated that the antioxidants and bioactive substances — such as vitamins A, B, C, and E; carotenoids; flavonoids; and polyphenols — found in fruit and vegetables may reduce brain oxidative stress, which in effect may prevent age-related brain dysfunction like memory loss," says Harvard Medical School.The Rx: At the grocery store, see red first. Resveratrol, a pigment found in red fruit, like apples, strawberries, raspberries, and grapes, has been linked to a reduction in Alzheimer's risk by researchers at Georgetown University, potentially boosting memory. 17 Eat a Diet Low in Saturated Fat Foods high in saturated fat aren't just bad for your heart—they also tax the brain. Why? They boosting your blood cholesterol level, which forms sticky plaques in arteries. The same process that can lead to a heart attack seems to gum up the neurological works as well. In a study published in the journal Annals of Neurology, study participants who ate the most saturated fats from foods such as red meat and butter performed worse on tests of thinking and memory than those who ate the least saturated fat.The Rx: An excellent diet for your brain and heart is the Mediterranean diet — lots of fruits and vegetables, plus fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy fats like olive oil. 18 Quit Smoking If you haven't permanently stubbed out the cigarettes yet, this might convince you: People who've quit smoking have better memory than their still-smoking peers. That's the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Alcohol&Drug Dependence. Researchers think the same toxins that damage the lungs can harm areas of the brain dedicated to memory.The Rx: If you need help quitting, see your doctor. Don't switch to smokeless tobacco or e-cigarettes. 19 Skip Simple Carbs and Added Sugar Junk food can turn your mind to mush. Eating highly refined carbohydrates—like white bread, bagels, cookies and sugar-sweetened beverages—and foods high in added sugar can lead to high blood sugar, which has been linked to memory loss and dementia.The Rx: Choose foods made with whole grains, exercise and avoid empty calories to keep your blood sugar, and memory, in check. 20 Watch Less TV Turns out mom was right—too much TV will rot your brain. A study published in the journal Brain and Cognition found that, for each hour a person between the ages of 40 and 59 spends watching TV, their risk of developing Alzheimer's increases by 1.3 percent.The Rx: Turn off the tube more often. Socializing and getting physical exercise will boost your brain health too.RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers 21 Drink Less Alcohol Booze is a potent neurotoxin that has damaging effects on the brain. Researchers have found that chronic binge drinking can damage the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is crucial to memory.The Rx: Experts say women should limit themselves to one drink a day, and men to two. After age 65, men should downsize to a solo drink too. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • Michelle Obama says she fears for daughters Sasha and Malia 'every time they get in a car by themselves'

    The former first lady shared her parenting concerns amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • The Disgusting Reason One Customer Just Brought a Lawsuit Against McDonald's

    Yikes. Fast food giants like McDonald's have found themselves among the establishments least hit by the pandemic… but a new report suggests that even in a time when safe food handling is under the microscope more than ever, it sounds like gross back-of-house behavior is still happening in some restaurant kitchens. Here's the truly sickening reason one New Jersey family has filed a serious lawsuit against their local McDonald's.RELATED: 7 New Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches Everyone Is Talking AboutNJ.com reported Thursday that a woman has filed a lawsuit against a McDonald's restaurant in Millville, New Jersey. She alleges that on January 13, she and her young daughter ordered at McDonald's and took their meal home to discover—well, we'll let our source explain what happened next:"After eating some fries from the McDonald's bag, the (child) reached in the bag and took out the burger (and) noticed a brown substance all over the wrapper," the suit states.At the same [time], [the mother] "noticed and smelled a horrible stench from the substance on the burger," the suit states."To their disbelief and shock, plaintiffs realized what they had just ingested was human feces, which was touching their French fries in the same bag and that was all over (the child's) hand and the wrapper of the burger," the lawsuit claims.The report states that the woman's daughter immediately reacted by vomiting. When the mom phoned that McDonald's location, the woman got no answer. At that point, she contacted the local police, who apparently found sufficient reason for the responding officer to pursue the matter.The report states that he went to the McDonald's and spoke to two managers, and two days later county health department officials arrived for an inspection. According to the report, the McDonald's was cited for multiple hand-washing violations.The woman's suit states that she and her daughter sought medical treatment after the event. As a result of the incident, she is reportedly seeking damages against the franchise location owner and 10 employees for "physical and psychological damages to include emotional distress, loss of appetite, heightened anxiety and stomach pain."The owner of that McDonald's location denies any wrongdoing and has been quoted as having commented: "Serving safe, high-quality food is always our top priority … We've taken appropriate steps to investigate this and have been unable to substantiate this claim."Fast food may be an easy go-to when life gets busy… but this kinda makes you want to eat at home this week, doesn't it? Catch Genius Meal-Prep Tricks for Easier Weekdays.Sign up for the Eat This, Not That! newsletter for can't-miss food and restaurant news.

  • 5 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Diabetes, Say Doctors

    Diabetes is one of the top ten causes of death in America, according to the CDC, right under Alzheimer's disease and right above kidney inflammation—and if you think you're not at risk, consider your everyday habits. Do you start each lunch break with a soda in hand? Have you been on the couch a lot this pandemic year? Read on to see what everyday habits put you at risk for diabetes, from the doctors who know—Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 Don't Drink High-Fructose Beverages "Consuming foods and drinks (especially sodas) with high fructose corn syrup," is bad habit #1, says Dr. Deena Adimoolam, a Yale-trained endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes, food as medicine and metabolic health. "We know that high fructose corn syrup leads to worsening insulin resistance (and as a result higher blood sugars) which can fuel the development of Type 2 diabetes."The Rx: "Read nutrition labels and choose foods/beverages without added sugars like high fructose corn syrup or better yet.. drink water!" she says. "Giving up a can of Coke at lunch and dinner can lead to tremendous health benefits, including preventing sugar overload, obesity, and diabetes," says Dr. Leo Nissola, an immunotherapy scientist and immunology researcher. "Remember that when eating, your body is looking for nutrients more than anything else. Avoid sodas, and drink sparkling water instead." 2 Beware of "Extra Sugar" Added sugars can be hidden in everything from spaghetti sauce to many popular bread brands. Even "healthy" fruit juice can have added sugar; even juice without sugar is just…sugar. "It's important to the general population to understand that fruit juices are not harmless," says Dr. Nissola. "Commonly, juices offered at food venues are canned, have exorbitant levels of sugar, and are packed with preservatives."The Rx: "Stay away from extra sugar," says Dr. Nissola. And eat your fruits, don't drink them.RELATED: The #1 Cause of Diabetes, According to Science 3 Be Careful of a Lack of Activity "Some amount of physical activity everyday may help lower one's blood sugars and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes," says Dr. Adimoolam. "Daily activity may even help with weight loss and improving your heart's health." The Rx: "Any physical activity is important whether it's a casual stroll or run," she says. 4 You've Got to Destress "Stress has many impacts on our body," says Dr. Adimoolam. "Chronic stress for months can lead to insulin resistance leading to higher blood sugars which may lead to type 2 diabetes."The Rx: "Focus on stress reduction via meditation or exercise or music or doing an activity you enjoy!" she says.RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers 5 If You Are Obsese, Please Get Down to a Normal Weight "You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are not physically active and are overweight or obese," says the NIH. "Extra weight sometimes causes insulin resistance and is common in people with type 2 diabetes. The location of body fat also makes a difference. Extra belly fat is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease."The Rx: "To see if your weight puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, check out these Body Mass Index (BMI) charts." 6 There May Be Some Factors Outside of Your Control Genes, genetic mutations, medicines and other factors can all play a part in developing diabetes. "Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system, the body's system for fighting infection, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas," says the NIH. "Scientists think type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease." Meanwhile, "Type 2 diabetes—the most common form of diabetes—is caused by several factors, including lifestyle factors and genes." Talk to a medical professional if you feel you're at risk, and to protect your health further, don't miss these Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers.

  • Virus Expert Just Issued This Sober Warning

    Over the last few weeks, businesses have been slowly starting to reopen and restrictions eased in many parts of the country. However, the pandemic isn't over yet. During his podcast The Osterholm Update: COVID-19 on May 5, Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., MPH. Dr. Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, issued a sober warning while talking with host Chris Dall. Read on to find out what he had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 The Virus Expert Warns the Virus "Is Not Done with Us" "So looking at the global situation, we've talked a lot about India in recent weeks and the situation there remains catastrophic," Dall said to Osterholm, adding that South America is also "reeling" accounting for 35 percent of all the COVID-related deaths in the last week. "So how concerned should we be about the trajectory that we're seeing in those regions and what it means for the future of the pandemic?" he asked. "This virus is telling us loud and clear. It is not done with us. It is not done with us. And while we surely are focused on what's happening in the United States, there is every reason to also be concerned about what's happening globally," Dr. Osterholm responded. 2 Global Deaths Are Still On the Rise "This past week, the case numbers have basically been stable from the previous week at about 5.7 million new cases. We understand that the under-reporting particularly from countries like India are substantial. So we know those numbers are higher, but nonetheless, it still points out the burden of disease," he continued. "We're seeing that it is far in excess of what we've seen previously—global deaths continue their ascent with more than 93,500 reported last week. This is the seventh straight week of increasing deaths, less than 6,000 deaths short of the record high reported this week of January 25th." 3 Death Is a "Lagging Indicator" He also pointed out that "death is a lagging indicator," and "so the cases that we're seeing now at these very high levels will be the deaths that we'll be talking about in two to four weeks." He also reiterated that the situation is still worsening, with a seven day daily case average of about 378,500 and seven day average of new deaths around 3,500, which "calls for a national lockdown." Even scarier? "As we have seen in the news media, it's very likely that these numbers are greatly under-reported, both the number of cases and deaths. Some experts are now saying that the daily COVID death toll could be five to 10 times higher than is being reported while India's prime minister is hesitant to impose a national lockdown due to the economic impacts," he added. 4 Vaccination Efforts Are Lagging Abroad While the United States has made great strides in getting the country vaccinated, this isn't the case elsewhere. "Globally we have the opposite problem that we're seeing here in the United States," he said. "There are not enough vaccines to go around." And, even if they were available, he points out that not everyone will get them. "Even if it's available, we have the same challenges likely working there as we do here in the United States. So we need to understand there'll be real efforts needed to actually educate the public, to support programs for vaccination. And don't think it's just enough to send vaccine to a country and then assume that it's all going to be used in the way that it should be and could be." 5 The Virus Expert is Worried Joe Rogan's Comments Were Dangerous Osterholm also addressed comments made by Joe Rogan, whose anti-vaccine comments recently put him under fire, asking him to walk back on his comments. "We appreciate you and your audience, and if we can help put the facts out there, we must because your audience is of the same people we want to protect like everyone else in this country," he said. "And I would not want one of your audience members to develop COVID-19 and die because of the fact that he or she believed that when they heard you say don't get vaccinated, that was not the reason why they didn't and subsequently became infected and had such a terrible, terrible outcome."RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers 6 Keep Doing Your Part So keep following Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • The #1 Cause of High Blood Pressure, According to Science

    Nearly every time you walk into a doctor's office or hospital, one of the first things they do is check your blood pressure. High blood pressure (aka hypertension) is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high, per the CDC—and, there's a good chance yours is. Approximately half of Americans suffer from hypertension, which is the primary or contributing cause of around 500,000 deaths per year. What exactly is it and what is the number one cause? Here is everything you need to know about high blood pressure. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 What Is High Blood Pressure "Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure that your arteries see while the heart is contracting (top number) and relaxing (bottom number)," Joyce Oen-Hsiao, MD, Director of clinical cardiology at Yale Medicine and assistant clinical professor of medicine, Yale School of Medicine, tells Eat This, Not That! The CDC explains that those arteries your blood is putting pressure against are responsible for carrying blood from your heart to other parts of your body. While it is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. The term hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is used to describe higher than normal blood pressure.Leaving high blood pressure uncontrolled can lead to serious medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure or renal failure. 2 What Happens If You Have It? Leaving high blood pressure uncontrolled can lead to serious medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure or renal failure, explains Dr. Oen-Hsiao. Specifically it can damage your organs, including the brain, heart, kidneys, and eyes. Ultimately, the higher your levels, the more at risk you are for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke—and death. 3 How Do I Know I Have It? The primary detection method is done by calculating your blood pressure either at-home with a blood pressure monitor, at the doctors office, or even your local pharmacy. "However, some patients do have symptoms, such as headache, shortness of breath, or dizziness," Dr. Oen-Hsiao adds. Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, while diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats, explains the CDC. If you are 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, "120 over 80," or write, "120/80 mmHg." A reading higher than that would be considered high blood pressure. One of the most highly rated, easiest to use, and accurate blood pressure monitors is WITHINGS BPM Connect, which takes your reading with the touch of a button and can even be programmed to send all readings straight to your MD. 4 Here Are the Top Contributing Factors High blood pressure isn't something that develops overnight. It generally happens over time and can be the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, including diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and stress. A few health conditions, including diabetes and obesity, can also increase your chances of developing hypertension. 5 What Is the Number One Cause? The most common cause of high blood pressure is genetic predisposition, states Dr. Oen-Hsiao. "High blood pressure runs in families, so if your parents have high blood pressure, you are more likely to also have high blood pressure," she explains. RELATED: The #1 Cause of Heart Attack, According to Science 6 How to Prevent It Luckily, there are actions you can take to decrease your chances of developing high blood pressure or even lower it if it is already high. "The best way to prevent high blood pressure is to watch your diet: be sure to limit how much salt you eat and also make sure you don't overeat," Dr. Oen-Hsiao instructs. Another important way to prevent high blood pressure is to exercise. "You should try to do moderate cardiovascular exercise (walking, biking, running) for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week, which will help to keep your blood pressure down."Per the CDC, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and managing stress can also help. 7 What to Do If You Notice Symptoms If you are worried you have high blood pressure, the best thing to do is take action. "If you notice symptoms (headache, dizziness, shortness of breath), make sure to call a doctor and have them check your blood pressure reading as soon as possible," advises Oen-Hsiao. The CDC also suggests measuring your blood pressure regularly in order to diagnose any issues promptly. And to protect your health, don't miss these Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers.

  • The #1 Best Snack to Eat, According to a Dietitian

    We all know that feeling that sinks in by mid-afternoon. You suddenly feel tired, hungry, and sluggish. You still have a couple of hours left at work, but you are starting to crash. You might even grab a coffee or a sweet treat to push through, maybe even a snack. Mid-afternoon tends to be prime snack time for many of us. Your energy from lunch is waning, and you know that you still have a few hours until dinner. So, what is the best snack to eat to keep you going?Have you ever thought about why so many of us feel crummy by 3 pm? If you find yourself regularly reaching for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, you likely are dealing with a post-lunch blood sugar issue. Regulating blood sugar is like working with Goldilocks. You don't want it to go too high or too low, but you want to get it just right. Blood sugar impacts our appetite cues: hunger, energy, and cravings. Thus, fluctuations in blood sugar spike hunger, zap energy, and dictate cravings…all at once. Ah-ha, now that 3 pm crash makes more sense!To keep our blood sugar stable and subsequently prevent the afternoon crash, you'll want to seek out a snack that is high in protein and fiber. Protein and fiber take longer to digest than only carbohydrates. By hanging around in your stomach longer, you'll feel full for hours with stable energy between meals. (Related: 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make)To find snacks that are high in protein and fiber, you'll want to pay attention to the label. I recommend shooting for 10 grams of protein per serving and at least 3 grams of fiber.The best high-fiber and protein snacks to eatIf you are someone who commutes to work and needs a small pick-me-up before you get home for dinner, you might start with something small like a Chomps jerky stick or a palm-full of nuts. This option works best if you don't want to feel starving by the time you walk in the door or want to decrease cravings from dinnertime to bedtime.If you are hitting the gym after work, you will need to add a carb to your protein and/or fiber choice! Carbs give us a quick energy boost, but the protein and fiber are key to slowing down the rate of absorption—ultimately keeping your energy stable throughout your workout. Munk Pack, a high-fiber protein cookie, offers a great all-in-one energy source!If you want something sweet that satisfies, and doesn't leave you feeling zapped for energy, a high-quality Greek yogurt is your friend! Packed with protein and lightly sweetened, I love Siggi's Icelandic yogurt. The consistency is oh-so-creamy with half the sugar of other supermarket yogurt brands. Pair with berries for a fiber boost!If you want the scoop on other snacks that will crush your cravings, check out these 12 Best Snacks That Crush Hunger Cravings.

  • This Can Dramatically Decrease Your Heart Attack Risk, Says New Study

    People who drink alcohol moderately (meaning one or two drinks a day) may face fewer heart problems than people who totally abstain, a new study has found. In the research, presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting, scientists analyzed the healthcare records of more than 53,000 people. They divided the study subjects into three groups—those who described their alcohol intake as low (less than one drink per week), moderate (one to 14 drinks per week), or high (more than 14). Overall, 15% of the study group experienced a "major adverse cardiovascular event" such as heart attack or stroke. The researchers found that moderate drinkers had a 20% lower chance of suffering a heart attack than people who reported low or no alcohol intake. The scientists also found that moderate drinkers had lower stress-related brain activity. Moderate drinking may relieve stress, which is associated with negative health outcomes, particularly related to heart disease. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It.But It's Not a License to Tie One OnConversely, binge drinking seems to stress the body. "We found that stress-related activity in the brain was higher in non-drinkers when compared with people who drank moderately, while people who drank excessively had the highest level of stress-related brain activity," said Kenechukwu Mezue, MD, a fellow in nuclear cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the study's lead author. "Moderate amounts of alcohol may have effects on the brain that can help you relax, reduce stress levels and, perhaps through these mechanisms, lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease."Several other studies have suggested there are health benefits to moderate drinking, but experts haven't officially set a "healthy" alcohol intake, because excessive consumption raises the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other negative outcomes."The current study suggests that moderate alcohol intake beneficially impacts the brain-heart connection," said Mezue. "However, alcohol has several important side effects, including an increased risk of cancer, liver damage and dependence, so other interventions with better side effect profiles that beneficially impact brain-heart pathways are needed."RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" CancersWhat to Do NowTo stay healthy, experts advise limiting your alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women and two for men younger than 65. After age 65, men should also dial back to one daily. (As we age, the stomach and liver naturally shrink, shortening the alcohol-to-stomach travel distance and reducing the liver's capacity to detox.) "If you feel concerned about your liver functioning, speak to your doctor as soon as you can and find out what blood tests can help identify liver inflammation and dysfunction," advises Dr. Wynne Armand, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Always be honest with your doctor about how much you drink.And if you're feeling stressed, be honest with your doctor about that also. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • This Beloved Candy Has a Shocking Number of Antioxidants, New Study Says

    The old adage about having "one too many" is usually spot on, well, except for this one instance.When it comes to sweets, the popular belief is that the limit most definitely does exist. As anyone who has over-indulged knows, there's a certain point where your stomach waves a warning flag to signal that's too full for comfort before it practically begs you to stop ingesting the sugary stuff. If this triggers bad memories from candy-engorging festivities around Halloween, we're sorry—that just means you've experienced it firsthand!Even nibbling on too much of a healthier "sweet" such as dark chocolate can leave you feeling lethargic and even a bit queasy. However, when consumed in moderation, dark chocolate is an excellent sweet treat to have on hand as it's loaded with healthy antioxidants. Now, new research is suggesting there's another candy on the block that's packing antioxidant properties.Caramel-lovers, rejoice! According to a new study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, caramel contains a promising number of antioxidants. Interestingly, research linked the antioxidant level to the color of the candy, meaning the richer the color (aka the greater the degree of caramelization) the more antioxidants it will have."The research states that the heating process that sugars undergo produce antioxidant compounds, like those found in whole plant foods," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD. "Antioxidants have been studied for years and used for centuries in the treatment of conditions and diseases related to free radical damage and toxins, otherwise known as oxidative stress."It's important that you take the findings of this study with a grain of salt, or should we say, a granule of sugar? In other words, researchers aren't suggesting you reach for a bag of caramel candies over a fruit salad, for example. However, it will likely prompt some exciting research in the future."Further studies will be conducted, but this is a promising result that a comfort food could help mitigate acute and chronic conditions," she adds. "If these findings continue it is likely that medicinal caramels will be researched next to make them healthier and possibly multifunctional in what all they deliver to the consumer."Nutritionist Lisa Richards adds, "This study has the potential to be a quite groundbreaking find in the area of health and the role of a sugar-laden food."But while you could soon be popping medicinal caramels instead of Werther's Original soft caramel candies, both Best and Richards emphasize that it's premature to consider caramel a healthy food right now."It is important to note that the caramels being looked at in this study are of a high quality and meet specific parameters, more so than those found on local grocery store shelves," Richards says. "At this point in the research process it is not safe to say that caramels are 'healthy' per se, but we can definitely look forward to further research."For more, be sure to check out The Classic Candy Bars That Are Terrible For You.

  • CDC Now Says You Can Catch COVID This Way

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just updated its take on the transmission of COVID-19 "to reflect current knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Modes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission are now categorized as inhalation of virus, deposition of virus on exposed mucous membranes, and touching mucous membranes with soiled hands contaminated with virus." What does that mean in plain English? Read on for 7 key takeaways from the CDC's new guidance that could save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 This is the Primary Way People Get COVID, the CDC Says "The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory fluids carrying infectious virus," says the CDC. So how might this happen? "Exposure occurs in three principal ways," they say, "(1) inhalation of very fine respiratory droplets and aerosol particles, (2) deposition of respiratory droplets and particles on exposed mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, or eye by direct splashes and sprays, and (3) touching mucous membranes with hands that have been soiled either directly by virus-containing respiratory fluids or indirectly by touching surfaces with virus on them." Keep reading to see where the virus can get you. 2 The Virus Escapes From Someone Else and Can Remain Suspended in Air For Hours "People release respiratory fluids during exhalation (e.g., quiet breathing, speaking, singing, exercise, coughing, sneezing) in the form of droplets across a spectrum of sizes. These droplets carry virus and transmit infection," says the CDC. "The largest droplets settle out of the air rapidly, within seconds to minutes. The smallest very fine droplets, and aerosol particles formed when these fine droplets rapidly dry, are small enough that they can remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours." 3 You Can Get COVID From Inhaling "Inhalation of air carrying very small fine droplets and aerosol particles that contain infectious virus. Risk of transmission is greatest within three to six feet of an infectious source where the concentration of these very fine droplets and particles is greatest," says the CDC. 4 You Can Get COVID From Splashes "Deposition of virus carried in exhaled droplets and particles onto exposed mucous membranes (i.e., 'splashes and sprays', such as being coughed on). Risk of transmission is likewise greatest close to an infectious source where the concentration of these exhaled droplets and particles is greatest," says the CDC. 5 You Can Get COVID By Touch "Touching mucous membranes with hands soiled by exhaled respiratory fluids containing virus or from touching inanimate surfaces contaminated with virus," says the CDC.RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers 6 The Virus Can Be Spread From More Than Six Feet Away "With increasing distance from the source, the role of inhalation likewise increases," says the CDC. "Although infections through inhalation at distances greater than six feet from an infectious source are less likely than at closer distances, the phenomenon has been repeatedly documented under certain preventable circumstances. These transmission events have involved the presence of an infectious person exhaling virus indoors for an extended time (more than 15 minutes and in some cases hours) leading to virus concentrations in the air space sufficient to transmit infections to people more than 6 feet away, and in some cases to people who have passed through that space soon after the infectious person left. Per published reports, factors that increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection under these circumstances include:Enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation or air handling within which the concentration of exhaled respiratory fluids, especially very fine droplets and aerosol particles, can build-up in the air space.Increased exhalation of respiratory fluids if the infectious person is engaged in physical exertion or raises their voice (e.g., exercising, shouting, singing).Prolonged exposure to these conditions, typically more than 15 minutes." 7 How to Stay Safe Given This New News "Although how we understand transmission occurs has shifted, the ways to prevent infection with this virus have not," says the CDC. "All prevention measures that CDC recommends remain effective for these forms of transmission." So follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • This Iconic NYC Restaurant Just Closed After 23 Years in Business

    The lifestyle landscape of New York City has certainly changed over the past year, as one more major NYC restaurant closure proved this week. The good news is that while this marks the end of an era for diners in one Manhattan neighborhood, the most resilient NYC restaurants—like this one—are finding intriguing ways to start over.Renowned French-American chef Daniel Boulud opened Café Boulud in 1998 at the Surrey Hotel on 76th Street and Madison Avenue. Poised since then as a mainstay to the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a darling for local and national media coverage, Café Boulud has branded itself to deliver "the finesse of traditional French cuisine with the warm hospitality of a neighborhood café," as their website reads. (Prior to Café Boulud's opening in the location, Boulud's flagship restaurant, Daniel, occupied the space before moving half a mile south to 65th Street.)RELATED: The Saddest Restaurant Closures in Your StateHowever, this week news broke that Café Boulud will be closing in its current location, as a new hotel group is taking over the Surrey Hotel… and it sounds like their vision differed from Boulud's. "The new owners wanted to take the restaurant in a direction that didn't suit me," Boulud has been quoted saying about the matter. While it sounds like the chef is navigating the transition with some degree of grace, it's likely not a breezy change. After he'd occupied the current space for a decade, in 2009 Boulud tapped an artist from Paris and a New York architect to tailor the restaurant to have a very precise vibe.So while it would be tough for any business owner to leave a space so many patrons have looked to (and with a Miami-based Italian restaurant rumored to be taking its place), word has it Boulud isn't looking to shutter Café Boulud for good. He's said to be seeking out another Upper East Side location to reopen Café Boulud.Meanwhile, interestingly, Boulud and his team made the best of pandemic struggles for customers and Boulud's employees when they introduced Daniel Boulud Kitchen, a pickup and delivery concept that offers "a weekly-changing menu of contemporary French classics prepared in the acclaimed DANIEL kitchen." They say a portion of all sales benefits Boulud's staff in the wake of business dampened by COVID-19.In the meantime, hopefully New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's tourism vaccine hopes and the September reopening of Broadway that was announced this week will help many New York restaurants turn the corner this summer.If you're catching up on the week's trending food news, check out This Is the Country That Drinks the Most Wine, Data Says.

  • Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. The same deadly disease took civil rights leader and Democratic Representative John Lewis and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. So what is pancreatic cancer—and why should you be worried about getting it yourself? Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 What is Pancreatic Cancer? Your pancreas, tucked away behind your stomach, is an inconspicuous organ tirelessly producing essential enzymes and hormones your body needs for digestion, and to regulate blood sugar. Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the organ, disrupting its necessary functions. 2 How is it Diagnosed? Justice Ginsberg's cancer was caught during a routine blood test last July. If caught early, pancreatic cancer is treatable. But the vast majority of cases aren't diagnosed until it's too late—in large part because no reliable early screening test exists. And when something goes wrong with it, your pancreas has a tendency to whisper, not shout. This makes pinpointing problems particularly challenging, especially when it comes to pancreatic cancer. 3 How is it Treated? There are a variety of effective forms of treatment: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Justice Ginsberg's initial treatment lasted three weeks—and was then ongoing as it flared. Trebek underwent chemotherapy. "Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one," he told GMA. "The thought of passing on doesn't frighten me," he said. "Other things do. The effect it will have on my loved ones—yes, that bothers me. It makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on? Hey, folks, it comes with the territory." 4 What is the Prognosis? According to the American Cancer Society, "for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is 7%," reports Pancreatic.org.Trebek originally said he'd fight his, ending with a joke: "Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years." His good humor aside, the news shocked his fans—and many Americans. The "low survival-rate statistics for this disease" he said meant "the prognosis for this is not very encouraging." As for Ginsberg, she initially "canceled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe," according to a statement, "but has otherwise maintained an active schedule"—and she worked right up until her death.Discovering it early was key to her recovery. Read on to learn the warning signs we should all watch out for. 5 You Experience Nausea and Vomiting, Especially After Eating Fatty Foods Fatty foods can do a number on you, and others—for proof, just visit a men's room on a Monday morning (or don't). However, if you are repeatedly experiencing nausea and vomiting, especially after eating fatty foods like fries, pizza, or even avocados, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your pancreas. Why? Pancreatic cancer symptoms can arise when pressure from a pancreatic cyst or tumor is growing on the stomach or small intestine, causing a block of the digestive tract. As the growth becomes bigger, it can actually cause a partial block by entwining itself around the far end of the stomach.As well, your pancreas produces digestive enzymes that help your system break down fat, among other things. Diseases that affect the pancreas tend to mess with your body's fat-digesting capabilities, leading to nausea and possible vomiting. A sudden onset of these symptoms, though, is more likely to indicate pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.The Rx: There are myriad reasons for an upset stomach, so don't quickly jump to conclusions. If nausea or vomiting after eating persists, make sure to see a doctor so you can find out what's going on. 6 Your Skin and Eyes Look Yellow Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs when bilirubin, a component of bile, builds up in the blood. Bilirubin is made by the liver as a breakdown product of old red blood cells and is usually eliminated from your body when your gallbladder releases bile.Here's how your pancreas is involved: Bile travels from your gallbladder through the common bile duct and passes through the pancreas. But if the bile ducts become blocked—for whatever reason—jaundice may result. Jaundice can be a sign of pancreatic cancer if a tumor is growing in the head of the pancreas, obstructing the bile duct and flow of bile.The Rx: They may be galling, but gallstones are the more likely cause for jaundice in adults than pancreatic cancer. Lower your risk of gallstones by following a healthy eating plan and regularly exercising. 7 Your Poop. It's Doing Funny Things, like Floating Oily? Greasy? Gray? Floating? If your poop is playing these tricks on you, it may be a sign of pancreatic disease. It can wreak havoc on your ability to produce the digestive enzymes that break down fats properly. The result can be funky feces. See an oily film in your toilet water after going No. 2—or find your feces floating? That's due to dietary fat that's not getting broken down by your body. And as for the pale poop phenomenon: Bilirubin gives your poop its brown color, but when your bile ducts are blocked, that color goes to monochromatic hues of gray or clay.The Rx: Poop that's a bit "special" every now and then is nothing to freak out about. But if most of your bowel movements start to have these characteristics, call your doctor and get yourself checked out.RELATED: The #1 Cause of Obesity, According to Science 8 You Suddenly Get Diabetes If you eat a healthy diet, your weight is under control, but you become diagnosed with diabetes, it might warrant a closer look at your pancreas. This is true especially if you're over 50 and have a low BMI (body mass index), with no family history of diabetes. Your pancreas produces insulin, which regulates your body's blood sugar. When your pancreas is under attack by a tumor or disease, systems begin to fail, and it can be common for people to suddenly develop type 2 diabetes.The same goes if you've had well-controlled diabetes for a while and suddenly find it difficult to manage the disease. Rapid shifts in diabetes status without a clear-cut rationale may be associated with pancreatic cancer.The Rx: If you have diabetes but experience a sudden change in your blood sugar levels, be sure to let your doctor know so you can rule out a more serious problem with your pancreas. 9 You've Just Unexpectedly Lost Weight You might be rocking the keto diet, but if you're dropping weight (too) rapidly, it could be due to digestive issues associated with pancreatic cancer or other pancreatic disorders. The weight loss may be caused by incomplete digestion either due to the cancer or as a result of the cancer itself (like when a tumor creates a stomach blockage). Unintended weight loss is a common symptom of pancreatic cancer.The Rx: Many other health conditions can also explain sudden weight loss, like thyroid issues. If you have just unexpectedly lost weight, you should see a doctor.RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta 10 You Experience Abdominal Pain Pain in your abdomen or back is a common warning sign of pancreatic cancer and acute pancreatitis, but the pain manifests differently for each. Radiating pain that extends toward the mid or lower back, which goes on for weeks, could be a sign of pancreatic cancer. The American Cancer Society shares that if a tumor that starts in the body or tail of the pancreas grows to be rather large, it can press on neighboring organs, causing pain. Sometimes, pancreatic cancer can spread to the nerves that surround the pancreas, which can result in back pain.If the pain, however, comes on suddenly, feels intense, and is mostly in the middle of your abdomen, it's more likely to be acute pancreatitis.The Rx: Any number of health issues can be the cause of your stomach aches or pain. And more likely than not, your upset stomach is due to a more mundane, garden-variety cause. If abdominal pain persists, however, please see your doctor. As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia, Say Experts

    "Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits," says the Alzheimer's Association. "When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body. Start now. It's never too late or too early to incorporate healthy habits." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 You're Not Fueling Up Right "Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline," says the Alzheimer's Association. "Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction." 2 You're Not Taking Care of Your Mental Health "Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns," says the Alzheimer's Association. "Also, try to manage stress." 3 You're Not Staying Socially Engaged This one is hard to do during the pandemic, but it's important. "Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community — if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an after-school program. Or, just share activities with friends and family," advises the Alzheimer's Association. 4 You're Not Staying Educated "Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia," says the Alzheimer's Association. "For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online." 5 You're Not Taking Care of Your Heart or Lungs "Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — negatively impact your cognitive health," says the Alzheimer's Association. "Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow." Don't smoke either. 6 You're Courting a Brain Injury "Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls," says the Alzheimer's Association. 7 You're Not Sleeping Enough "Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking," says the Alzheimer's Association. 8 You're Not Exercising "Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body," says the Alzheimer's Association. "Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline."RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta 9 Play Brain Games "Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically," says the Alzheimer's Association. "Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain." And to protect your health, don't miss these Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers.

  • McDonald's Just Brought Back This Popular Menu Deal

    McDonald's often advertises new deals for customers, especially those who are using the chain's phone app. But there may be no better deal than the always-popular Buy One Get One For $1 deal. And now it's back for a limited time!How does it work? When you buy one of the menu items that are part of this deal at full price, you'll get a second one for just $1. It's the perfect option for those who are buying for two.RELATED: McDonald's Is Teaming Up With the Most Popular Pop Band in the WorldThere are, however, only a few items to which this BOGO For $1 deal applies. These are the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, the Filet-O-Fish, and the 10-Piece Chicken McNuggets. And while most McDonald's locations nationwide will be honoring the deal, according to Chew Boom, universal participation is not guaranteed.McDonald's is also currently offering a number of other deals, many of which are designed to shepherd customers toward using the company's app to place their orders. For example, through late June, you are eligible for a free serving of Large Fries with a first-time purchase through the McDonald's app. Also through late June, existing McDonald's app users can add Large Fries for just $1 once a week to any mobile order, and free fries on Fridays with any purchase made through the app.Also currently on offer: any size of Premium Roast Coffee (hot or iced) for 99 cents as well as the seemingly perennial $1 for any size of soft drink offer. For more, check out McDonald's Has a New Summer Treat On the Menu, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

  • One Major Side Effect of Eating Too Many Processed Foods, Says New Study

    It's no secret that fresh groceries leave your body feeling better than processed foods. Highly processed diets can sap your energy, hurt your skincare regimen, and even put you in a bad mood. Now, researchers have discovered yet another reason to cut out the Big Macs for good—turns out, diets full of processed foods can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of certain chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.A recent study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens found that a Western-style diet—described as a diet rich in processed foods that are high in fat and refined sugars but low in fiber—could create a breeding ground for harmful gut bacteria and make you more susceptible to insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)"Processed foods, such as high sugar foods and pre-packaged foods, lack fiber and nutrients which are needed to support the gut microbiota," Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, owner of Genki Nutrition, and Media Spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said in an interview with Eat This, Not That! "Studies have concluded that processed foods reduce the number of gut microbiota and influence the immune system's 'readiness' and the body's defense against pathogenic bacteria."In other words, if your diet includes too many processed foods, you could be reducing the healthy bacteria in your gut that protect you from harmful bacteria that can a) make you sick immediately (think foodborne illness) and b) alter your gut microbiota and increase your risk of chronic inflammatory diseases in the long run.So, what foods should you avoid to keep your gut health in tip-top shape? Abbey Sharp, a registered dietitian at Abbey's Kitchen, strongly recommends cutting back on red meat varieties that are high in preservatives, salt, and saturated fat including bacon, pepperoni, and hot dogs."While I don't believe in completely removing any one food from your diet, I think there's value in trying to limit our intake of ultra-processed foods," she said, adding that it's not just inflammatory infections and foodborne illnesses that you should be watching out for."We do have evidence to suggest that a diet rich in ultra-processed red meat like hot dogs may increase the risk of cancer. Even 'nitrate free' or 'natural' hot dogs contain natural nitrates so I suggest limiting consumption to special occasions."Looking for foods that won't leave you at high risk? Try these 15 Homemade Swaps for Ultra-Processed Foods.

  • This New "Scorchin' Hot" Chicken Sandwich Is Already Selling Out

    They called for peace and unity, but in truth, they came to dominate. Smashburger introduced their Scorchin' Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich last month, rolling it out with a marketing campaign that called for the end of the "chicken sandwich wars" among fast-food restaurants. They gave sandwiches away for free to fast-food workers and ran a BOGO deal for everyone else.But it's easy to make a peace offering with such a powerful weapon in hand. Smashburger's newest menu item is flying off the shelves (or, perhaps more accurately, out of industrial ovens). The sandwich is made with famed Nashville hot crispy chicken, spicy red pepper mayo, pickles, and served on a classic toasted bun. And Smashburger locations cannot keep enough of it in stock.RELATED: This Popular Fast-Food Chain Just Confirmed a Shortage of Chicken TendersThe Scorchin' Hot creation has already sold out at 35 of the chain's 200+ locations, according to a spokesperson for the brand. In just over two weeks after it launched, the new chicken sandwich has become Smashburger's second most popular menu offering. The sammy was meant to be on the menus until June 15, but there's a chance your local Smashburger has already run out of their supply.The popularity of the Scorchin' Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich underscores what all fast-food chains seemingly realized at the same time: chicken is the fast-food of the moment. Especially when you add the words "spicy" or "crispy" (in McDonald's case, both) to the name, the popularity of a fast-food chicken sandwich is unmatched in 2021.Smashburger in particular says that the new poultry promotion has contributed to a 30% traffic increase since its launch. The chain recently redid their logo and their online presence, made plans to open 40 more locations, and launched this incredibly popular item—who says you can't be productive in a pandemic?For more, check out We Tried Popular Spicy Fast-Food Items and This Is the Best One, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

  • 20 Surprising Things That Can Actually Expire

    You check your milk's label before pouring it into your cereal and your lunch meat always gets the sniff test before building the ultimate sandwich. But there are other items in your home you may never think about that also have expiration dates. When you use ineffective or outdated products, it can negatively impact your health and environment. Not sure what to look for to ensure you're getting the most out of the items you buy? Check out these 20 items you shouldn't use after they expire so you know your cabinets are full of fresh and effective products. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It. 1 Your Toothbrush Your toothbrush is a vital component to your oral hygiene but if it's expired, it may be ineffective at keeping your teeth clean. "When you don't change your brush in the recommended amount of time, the bristles can become frayed. Frayed bristles are less effective in removing plaque and food debris around the teeth," according to Inna Chern, DDS, from New York General Dentistry. What to do: "Replace toothbrushes every three to four months or more often if the bristles are visibly matted or frayed," suggests the American Dental Association (ADA). 2 Your Running Shoes As you run, walk, or exercise, the shoes you wear absorb shock, provide cushion, and promote stability. If you don't replace your running shoes when they expire, they lose their cushion and increase the stress on your bones, muscles, and joints. This can lead to overuse injuries and annoying aches and pains after exercising. What to do: Replace your running shoes every 200 to 300 miles or as soon as you notice wear and tear or cushion breakdown. "You can maybe still get 400 to 500 miles on an older pair of shoes, but your injury risk will definitely go up because the materials are already breaking down," according to Kyle Stump from Fleet Feet in Delray Beach, Florida. 3 Your Shower Towel When you step out of the shower, you want that clean feeling to last forever, but if you're doing it wrong, you could cause more harm than good. If your shower towel has taken on a mildew-like smell or lost its absorbency, chances are, you'll start to feel gross again right after drying off. What to do: Home health experts suggest replacing your shower towels when they lose their "fluffiness," start to smell, stop absorbing, or at least once every two years. "Because towels are used daily and washed frequently, they tend to fray and tear after a couple of years. They typically lose their absorbency around the two-year mark, which is a good indicator that it's time to replace them," says Leanne Stapf from The Cleaning Authority. 4 Medication If allergies or a headache only strike once every few years, you may have medication bottles in your medicine cabinet that have been there for a long time. While it may not be dangerous to your health to take expired medications, the ingredients usually aren't as effective. The chemical components in expired medication may have started to break down already, decreasing their strength. What to do: "Certain expired medications are at risk of bacterial growth and sub-potent antibiotics can fail to treat infections, leading to more serious illnesses and antibiotic resistance," The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns. Check expiration dates on all medications and safely dispose of your outdated bottles. 5 Spices Most spices, such as cinnamon or chilli powder, don't have expiration dates listed on the bottles. While most spices don't necessarily expire, they can begin to lose their flavor and potency after a few years, especially if they're no longer stored in an airtight container. What to do: If you want to get the most flavor out of your cooking, Anar Allidina, a registered dietician, suggests replacing spices after six months to a year. Keep in mind, ground spices lose flavor faster than spices that are dried whole. 6 Vitamins Most vitamin bottles have "use by" dates, which suggest when the substance may begin to break down and lose its potency. It's not dangerous to take a vitamin after its expiration but you may not be getting all the nutritional elements promised on the label.What to do: Your vitamins may remain potent for up to two years after the "use by" date, according to Dr. Shanna Levine from Goals Healthcare. To increase shelf life, store your vitamins away from extreme temperatures, out of the sunlight, and protected from humidity. 7 Your Hairbrush Your hairbrush is probably made from plastic or wood, so you may assume it'll last forever. But after a while, it begins to collect your dead hair and styling products, leading to buildup. This makes it hard for your brush to pass through your hair and do its job and may put your hair at risk for damage. "The product debris can irritate the scalp, which can lead to redness, itch, and scale," says Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., from SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care. What to do: Keep an eye out for damage to your brush, such as separated bristles, as a sign it needs to be replaced. Even if it's kept its integrity, experts recommend replacing your hairbrush every six months to a year. 8 Your Pillows The average American spends 36 years in bed. Sleep is so important for your body that a lack of it can be disorienting—and even fatal. One of your closest allies during all these years is your pillow. But night after night, your pillow absorbs your dead skin and body oils. Even if you follow the proper protocol and wash them every six months, these allergens may still stick around, causing the pillow to be weighed down or begin to smell. They can also become the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, which can then spread to your linens and mattress.What to do: Experts recommend replacing your pillows every few years, or when they begin to lose shape. To determine if it's time for a pillow replacement, "check to see if any foam or batting in the pillow is lumpy and, if it's a feather pillow, ask yourself if you constantly have to fluff it up to support your head or if it still does it on its own," says experts at The Sleep Foundation.RELATED: Unhealthiest Habits on the Planet, According to Doctors 9 Your Kitchen Sponge Your kitchen sponge is constantly exposed to dish soap and water, so it must automatically be clean, right? Wrong. The sponge in your kitchen has the tough job of getting rid of food particles and dirt. While it's washed frequently, it may stay damp and remaining particles may be present. Most sponges carry a variety of bacteria, including salmonella, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.What to do: If your sponge begins to crumble and break or it smells, replace it. Even if you don't notice anything wrong with your sponge, experts who conducted the study recommend replacing your kitchen sponge every week. 10 Your Mattress If you don't feel like you're getting a great night's sleep, you may want to consider how long you've had your mattress. A saggy mattress is ineffective at keeping your body in a comfortable sleeping position and it may cause back pain or poor sleep. What to do: You should replace your mattress when it's six to eight years old, if you notice it's sagging, or if it begins to squeak or make other noises, according to experts at The Sleep Foundation. If you find yourself constantly waking up stiff or if your allergies get bad at night, it may also be a sign it's time to invest in a new mattress. 11 Sunscreen When you lather yourself in sunscreen, you expect it to protect you from the sun's rays so you can avoid painful sunburn. If your sunscreen is expired, it may not be able to help block your skin from these harmful rays. So, how do you know when your sunscreen has become ineffective? What to do: "Sunscreens are required by the Food and Drug Administration to remain at their original strengths for at least three years," according to the Mayo Clinic. Many sunscreens also include an expiration date on the bottle. Throw it out after the expiration date or three years after you bought it. 12 Eye Makeup After it expires, makeup can begin to change texture and may be greasy or separated. This is a sure sign to toss your products but it's even more important to pay attention to the integrity of your eye makeup. Mascara, eye shadow, and eyeliners get really close to your eyes and if they're ridden with bacteria, using these expired products can cause irritation or infection. What to do: Mascara should be tossed out after two to three months and you should throw away your eyeliner after about six months. Unless it smells funny or has lost its texture, powdered eye shadows can generally last about three years before going bad, according to health experts interviewed by The Kansas City Star. 13 Sunglasses If you have a favorite pair of sunglasses you've worn for years, it may be time to shop for a new pair. Your sunglasses are made to block harmful UV rays from the sun that can damage your eyes. However, after being exposed to the brutal sunlight for years, the components that protect your eyes may be compromised, making your sunglasses ineffective at blocking these rays. What to do: Sunglasses manufacturers don't provide clear guidelines on when you should replace your sunglasses, according to a study published in Biomedical Engineering Online. "Based on informed estimates, it is quite reasonable to assume that the UV protection of sunglasses should be required to last at least two years," the study suggests. Replace your sunglasses every few years or if you notice the lenses are scratched or compromised in any way. 14 Slippers The slipper you lounge in every night may be a breeding ground for bacteria. If you can't regularly wash your slippers and you wear them outside at all, you could be tracking in "an average of 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe and 2,887 on the inside," according to a study conducted by Dr. Charles Gerba and The Rockport Company.What to do: To prevent a buildup of bacteria on your slippers and to ensure your feet stay comfortable and safe, footwear experts recommend replacing them every year. If your slippers start to smell, look visibly dirty, lose their cushion, or are damaged, you should also consider replacing them before the six-month expiration date. 15 Cutting Boards Your cutting boards see all different types of foods, so washing, scrubbing, and sanitizing after use is essential. However, at some point, your cutting boards may have been exposed to one too many a sharp knife and could lose their integrity. At this point, it's hard to get food remnants out of the deep grooves that have developed, increasing the chance that bacteria and particles are stuck in the board and could contaminate your food.What to do: "When your cutting board has accumulated a lot of deep grooves from repeated use, you probably need to replace it," according to an article published by NC State University. 16 Soy Sauce Soy sauce is chock full of sodium, which keeps bacteria growth and contamination at bay. Your soy sauce should last a while but it can begin to lose its flavor after several years. Keep an eye (and a nose) on your soy sauce and if it smells different or changes texture, it may be time to replace it. What to do: Keep it in the refrigerator to lengthen its life. "Once opened, the soy sauce will start to lose its freshness and the flavor will begin to change. By refrigerating the sauce, the flavor and quality will remain at their peak for a longer period," according to experts at Kikkoman USA.RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers 17 Wooden Kitchen Utensils Wooden kitchen utensils are popular because they're more gentle on your pans and are known to have antibacterial qualities. Just like other utensils, if they're used frequently, they may begin to show signs of wear and tear. If you take care of your utensils carefully, you can prolong their life. What to do: To keep them in good shape, hand wash these utensils, rub them with mineral oil, and use fine sandpaper to remove stains, according to experts at New Hampshire Bowl and Board. Even if you take care of your wooden utensils, the experts warn, "Wooden spoons can eventually split as they dry out or are exposed to extreme temperature changes." When these items split, crack, or dry out, it's time to replace them. 18 Bike Helmet Your bike helmet may not be able to fully protect your head in the event of a crash if it's expired. The integrity of the cushion and protective elements inside your helmet can be negatively impacted over time, decreasing its effectiveness. What to do: Replace your helmet if it's been involved in a crash already or it's been damaged in another way, according to experts at the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. You should also replace your helmet if it doesn't fit properly, the technology is old, or it's been about five years since you originally purchased it.RELATED: The #1 Cause of Diabetes, According to Science 19 Bug Spray Most bug sprays don't have expiration dates printed on their packaging. While they won't become hazardous to your health after some time, these products can become less effective at keeping insects away so it's important to figure out if your bug spray has expired before using it. What to do: "DEET-based or picaridin-based repellents don't have an expiration date. If the repellent contains IR3535 (which is commonly added to skincare products), then there is an expiration date that is usually between 18 and 36 months after it is packaged," according to experts at Pest Control FAQ's. 20 Batteries Over time, batteries can lose their effectiveness. If they're stored at extreme hot or cold temperatures, battery acid may also leak out, ruining the batteries and making a dangerous mess in your junk drawer. What to do: Your batteries should be stamped with a "Best If Used By" date. "The best consumer experience and battery performance occurs with battery usage before the Best If Used By Date," according to experts at Energizer. If the date has passed, your batteries may still function but don't expect them to last too much longer or offer optimal performance. As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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  • 21 Subtle Signs You've Already Had COVID

    Could you have had COVID-19 and not even realized it? Possibly. "The majority of people who contract the coronavirus will experience mild symptoms, the most common being a high temperature and a new, dry and continuous cough. A smaller percentage of people will experience more severe symptoms," explains Dr. Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead at Treated.com. However, because the coronavirus actually has a spectrum of symptoms—some so mild they are barely noticeable or easily confused with something else—it can go unnoticed or undiagnosed. Read on to discover the 21 subtle signs you've already had coronavirus, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus. 1 Runny Nose, Sore Throat, and Congestion Dr. Atkinson maintains that the trifecta of a runny nose, sore throat, and congestion, can signify a mild case of COVID-19. However, because it "sounds, and likely feels, a lot like the common cold, or a hay fever allergy," many people likely brushed them off. 2 Reduced, or Loss of, Sense of Taste and Smell Some people who experience a loss of their taste and smell may have contracted the coronavirus. "It's a symptom that might accompany really mild symptoms, like those not dissimilar to the common cold—runny nose, congestion and sore throat—but it can also accompany the very mild symptoms, such as muscle aches, fatigue, fever and a continuous cough," Dr. Atkinson points out. While it is not fully understood yet why some people report experiencing a loss in taste and smell, it is thought that in the majority of cases the sense returns after no more than six weeks, he explains. 3 Reduced Appetite Dr. Atkinson adds that when your body is infected by a virus like COVID-19, your appetite can become reduced. "If this is accompanied by a loss of taste and smell it can make wanting to eat or drink really difficult," he explains. "It's really important to drink plenty of fluids to help your body combat the virus and minimize the symptoms and even if you don't feel like it, try to eat something, even if it's just a snack or a small meal." 4 Breathlessness As novel coronavirus is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, things like coughing, a sore throat and breathlessness can occur as symptoms, explains Dr. Atkinson. While the most common is the dry, continuous cough often reported on, if you're feeling breathless—more so than usual—and if it happens when you're at rest, then it may be cause for concern and you should (or should have) sought medical advice straight away. 5 Tiredness and Fatigue When your body is fighting any kind of infection, it uses up energy. "Most people will feel tired or lethargic so won't be exercising or going to work when they're ill but some fitness enthusiasts insist on continuing with exercise to try and battle on through," explains Dr. Atkinson. This is not usually helpful, the body needs time to rest physically whilst the immune system does the work so take a break from the circuit training for a few days. "You should not ignore your body's signals," he adds. "Resting and sleeping while you're unwell is an essential part of your recovery." 6 "COVID Toes" Dermatologists have observed purple lesions on the feet and hands of some patients with COVID-19 infection, explains Caroline Nelson, MD, a Yale Medicine dermatologist. These lesions are most often found in otherwise asymptomatic children and young adults, and may be itchy or painful.While the association is still under investigation, this finding is often called "COVID toes." Importantly, severe COVID-19 infection may also increase the tendency of the blood to clot, depriving the skin of blood flow and leading to purple skin lesions. Subtle differences in appearance provide doctors with clues to differentiate causes of purple skin lesions associated with COVID-19 infection. 7 Pink Eye If you have recently suffered from conjunctivitis, a.k.a. pink eye, it could have been due to COVID-19. "Several reports suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can cause a mild follicular conjunctivitis otherwise indistinguishable from other viral causes, and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva," the American Academy of Ophthalmology recently said in a statement. This is why some experts are recommending contact lens wearers to switch to glasses during the pandemic. 8 Diarrhea or Nausea According to the CDC, "Some persons with COVID-19 have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea prior to developing fever and lower respiratory tract signs and symptoms." In fact, a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that digestive issues were more common in those with COVID-19 than previously thought, and that up to half of patients diagnosed complained about one of these symptoms. 9 A Fever Spike Did you have a fever that came and went so quickly you brushed it off? Well, it could have been COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, 87.9% of 55,924 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus reported a fever—making it by far the most common symptom. 10 Muscle Pain Perhaps you wrote off those body aches, pains, and soreness due to overexertion. Or maybe you thought you had the flu. However, according to the CDC muscle pain is a symptom of coronavirus. RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'd Get Back to Normal 11 COVID Rashes "The skin is often a window into a person's health and may show signs of COVID-19 infection," explains Dr. Nelson. Rashes may present as small blisters, morbilliform ("measles-like") exanthems (many, often symmetric, pink-to-red bumps that can merge together), and hives (itchy red wheels on the skin). Purple skin lesions reported in patients with COVID-19 range from itchy to painful bumps on the hands and feet ("COVID toes") to angulated areas of skin injury from lack of blood flow."It is important to note that these skin signs are non-specific, meaning that they can be associated with other infections, systemic disorders, and medication reactions. It is important to seek medical advice from your physician," Dr. Nelson says. 12 Disorientation Some COVID-19 victims suffer from disorientation and confusion. One study published in JAMA found that over a third of hospitalized patients in Wuhan, China showed neurologic manifestations of the disease — including loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, and seizures. 13 A Dry Cough A dry cough is one of the defining symptoms of COVID-19, according to the WHO. What is the difference between a wet and dry cough? As the name implies, a wet cough will likely produce mucus or phlegm, while a dry cough is, well, dry. 14 The Chills or Repeated Shaking The CDC made six new additions to their official list of COVID-19 symptoms. Amongst them was not only "chills" but "repeated shaking with chills." The symptom generally goes hand-in-hand with a fever. RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'd Be Back to "Normal" 15 Throbbing Headache If you feel a jackhammer in your head, it may be COVID-19. "Findings from an observational study of more than 100 patients show headache onset may occur during the presymptomatic and/or symptomatic phases of COVID-19 progression and sometimes mimics tension or migraine headaches," reports Optometry Times. 16 Chest Pain "Some people say they continue to experience symptoms months after infection," reports Heart.org. "In doctor visits and on social media groups, a growing number of patients report lingering symptoms ranging from mild issues, such as continued loss of taste or smell, to more serious ones, such as heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, cognitive difficulties or recurring fevers. Whether these symptoms eventually resolve or whether they signal permanent damage from the virus remains unknown." 17 Loss of Speech or Movement "People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, chest pain/pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical attention immediately," reports WHO.RELATED: If You Feel This You May Have Already Had COVID Says Dr. Fauci 18 You Become Forgetful "Our experience with previous forms of coronaviruses suggest that in the long-term patients may develop depression, insomnia, Parkinson's disease, memory loss, or accelerated aging in the brain," says Dr. Majid Fotuhi, MD, Ph.D., who is the medical director of NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center in Northern Virginia and an affiliate staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "For those recovering from COVID-19, I recommend regular exercise, eating a heart healthy diet, reducing stress, and improving sleep; these are critical ways patients can rejuvenate their brain and minimize having poor outcomes in the future." 19 You Were Early Last Year If you were sick in January or February and brushed it off as the flu or a cold, it could have actually been COVID-19. While the first known case of coronavirus in the United States was reported in early January, community spread didn't appear to be an issue—or so we thought. In fact, it wasn't until late February that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in a patient in California who had no known contact with anyone who had been diagnosed with the virus or no travel history to an outbreak area. However, recently it was confirmed that there were two coronavirus-related deaths as early as February in California. Since the COVID outbreak took place during peak cold and flu season, it's quite possible that you were battling coronavirus and didn't know it. 20 You Spent Time in a Hotspot If you spent some time in any of the early coronavirus hotspots—specifically indoor restaurants, bars, places of worship, or offices—and felt under the weather, it could have been COVID-19. WHO added many of the places or situations where the virus had the potential to spread in an airborne manner involved enclosed spaces where people were likely to be "shouting, talking, or singing.""In these outbreaks, aerosol transmission, particularly in these indoor locations where there are crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected persons spend long periods of time with others, cannot be ruled out," the WHO confessed. 21 Be Concerned if You Were Around Others Who Tested Positive If you were around other people who tested positive for COVID-19, there is a good chance you had it too. According to research, an overwhelming amount of people are asymptomatic carriers. In most of the study groups, they were living in the same area as others who tested positive. So, if someone in your house was sick, but you never showed symptoms, there is a good chance you had it, too. 22 There is Only One Way to Check if You've Already Had Coronavirus Dr. Atkinson points out that the only way to truly know if you had COVID-19 is by using an antibody test, a test that confirms whether or not someone had been infected with the virus in the past. Although note that no test is 100% accurate, including these—and some people who have had COVID-19 may show no antibodies. Call your doctor to ask for one—or if you think you currently have COVID-19. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

  • This One Drink Could Increase Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer, New Study Says

    Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer-related death.According to the American Cancer Society, the rate of colorectal cancer in younger individuals been increasing steadily since the 1980s, with approximately 18,000 people under 50 diagnosed with the condition in 2020 alone. However, it's not just genetics that may predispose you to this deadly condition—a new study reveals that your choice of drink may be a major factor in your colorectal cancer risk.According to research published in the BMJ journal Gut on May 6, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages in adolescence and adulthood may increase a person's likelihood of developing early-onset colorectal cancer in their lifetime.Reviewing research conducted as part of the Nurses' Health Study II, which compiled data on 116,429 female registered nurses in the U.S. from 1991 to 2015, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri studied participants' sugar-sweetened beverage intake and early-onset colorectal cancer risk in adulthood. Researchers also identified and tracked early-onset colorectal cancer among a subgroup of 41,272 women who reported consuming sugar-sweetened beverages between ages 13 and 18.RELATED: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right NowAmong the pool of study subjects, researchers discovered 109 reported cases of early-onset colorectal cancer. Women who drank two or more 8-ounce servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a day as adults were more than twice as likely to develop early-onset colorectal cancer than those who consumed one 8-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage or less each week.Each daily 8-ounce serving of sugar-sweetened beverages woman drank between the ages of 13 and 18 increased her risk of early-onset colorectal by 32%."Despite the small number of cases, there is still a strong signal to suggest that sugar intake, especially in early life, is playing a role down the road in increasing adulthood colorectal cancer risk before age 50," explained Yin Cao, ScD, the study's lead author and an associate professor of surgery and of medicine in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Washington University, in a statement.However, just because you've been a big soda drinker in the past doesn't mean a future colorectal cancer diagnosis is a foregone conclusion. The study's authors also found that replacing those sugar-sweetened beverages with whole or reduced-fat milk, coffee, or artificially-sweetened beverages could potentially reduce a person's risk of early-onset colorectal cancer between 17 and 35%.For more ways to improve your health in a hurry, check out these 7 Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk in Seconds.

  • The #1 Best Coffee to Drink, According to Dietitians

    There are so many ways you can brew coffee these days. There's pour-over, French press, Chemex, Aeropress, and now you can even steep coffee like it's tea. With so many different ways to make a cup of coffee, we had to ask ourselves—are any of them considered the healthiest? Quick answer: Not really. After consulting multiple dietitians, we concluded that the best coffee to drink is one that isn't loaded with added sugars.This may seem simple and perhaps a bit vague, but the truth is that coffee's actually pretty good for you. If you're keeping your caffeine intake under 400 milligrams a day—which equates to 28 ounces, or four cups of coffee—your morning drink can actually be highly beneficial for your body's health. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)Along with making you feel alert and energized (thank you, caffeine!), studies show that coffee can actually help you lose weight, improve cognitive function, and even live longer.And yet, while adding coffee to your daily meal plan can benefit your health, your efforts can immediately backfire if you're adding the wrong types of ingredients to it—specifically the overly-sugary ones."The best way to enjoy your coffee is by making it that way you like, but being conscious of what you add into your coffee," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. "Some of the designer drinks are full of added sugars, which can be negative to your health and waistline when consumed on a regular basis. Making a few changes to your coffee order like using low-fat milk instead of cream, limiting the syrup, or passing on the whipped topping can help you enjoy your coffee and its plant-based nutrients without the added calories."Preparing your coffee at home is an easy way to cut down the calories. Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, says her favorite type of coffee to brew at home is a French roast."[What's] most important is what you add to the coffee—use cow's milk or unsweetened plant milk instead of cream and cinnamon instead of sugar," Young says.Another great way to sweeten up your coffee without sugary coffee creamers is sprinkling in your favorite flavored protein powder."Protein coffee is probably one of the best ways to drink coffee in the morning,"Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian says. "Not only does it boost your metabolism with protein first thing in the morning, but it also tastes great. Making coffee with protein powder adds flavor and sweetness without a ton of added carbs and artificial flavors you would get by sweetening it with creamers. It also helps to keep you full between breakfast and lunch, leading to fewer cravings during the day."So brew yourself a pot of your favorite coffee roast, add some almond milk with a dash of cinnamon, and have yourself the perfect cup of coffee—free of all of those added empty calories. If you're looking for even more healthy eating tips, be sure to sign up for our newsletter!

  • 48% of People Have No Idea What This Crucial Food Label Means, New Study Says

    How many times have you looked at a packaged food in search of an expiration date and instead, came across "Best If Used By," paused, then thought what does that really mean? As it turns out, you're not alone.A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior suggests that nearly half of all consumers don't understand the specific meaning of the "Use By" label found on the back of food products. To come to this conclusion, researchers surveyed just over 2,600 adults in the U.S. to see just how well shoppers know what food date labels mean. (Related: Costco Foods You Should Always Avoid, According to Nutritionists)After all, how we interpret these labels can either encourage or deter us from buying food at the supermarket. The question is, do we really understand what these labels are telling us, or do we just assume we know? According to this study, just because we think we know doesn't mean we're right."Our study showed that an overwhelming majority of consumers say that they use food date labels to make decisions about food and say they know what the labels mean," Catherine Turvey, MPH, from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, said in a statement."Despite confidently using date labels, many consumers misinterpreted the labels and continued to misunderstand even after reading educational messaging that explained the labels' meaning."The study revealed that only 46% of participants knew the "Best if Used By" label indicates that the quality of the food could decline after the specified date and only 24% understood that the "Use By" label means that the food is no longer safe to eat after that date. In the next step of the study, researchers provided participants with educational messages that (they thought) could help study subjects better understand the labels.However, after they viewed the messages, 37% of consumers still didn't grasp an understanding of what "Best If Used By" meant and 48% didn't know what the "Use By" label indicated. Hopefully, this study will help prompt communication campaigns that will help consumers better understand what this 2-date labeling system means so that they a) avoid food waste and b) avoid consuming foods that have spoiled.For more, be sure to check out 8 Sneaky Buzzwords on Food Labels That Are Major Red Flags.