Simple Additions and Subtractions for a Healthier Life

Learn what to add and what to take out of your life to be more healthy.

from Reader's Digest Magazine, | May 2011
Berries© iStockphoto / Thinkstock

From research labs around the world, simple additions and subtractions for a healthier life:

Additions

Whole Wheat Bread

A diet rich in high-fiber foods now seems even better for you: It appears to protect against not just heart disease but also infectious and respiratory diseases. In a study of almost 400,000 people, those who ate the most fiber were 22 percent less likely to die during a nine-year period than fiber avoiders.

Berries

Eating plenty of berries may cut the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, preliminary research suggests. Graze widely—it’s not clear which berry is best.

Zinc for Colds

This controversial remedy may indeed shorten a cold by about two days if you take lozenges or syrup within 24 hours of the start of symptoms, says a recent analysis of 15 studies. The studies used daily doses of 30 to 160 milligrams. (The analysis didn’t look at zinc nasal sprays or swabs; the FDA has warned that some of these may harm your sense of smell.)

Subtractions

Irritation at Hot Flashes

They’re just as annoying as ever, but a recent study suggests that hot flashes and night sweats early in menopause may signal a lower risk of heart disease and stroke years down the road.

Worry About PSA Scores

High levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can be a sign of prostate cancer, and a quick increase is often enough to prompt a biopsy. But a recent study found that a rapid PSA rise does not necessarily indicate cancer and should not cue a biopsy, as long as levels remain in the normal range.

Sugar-Sweetened Soda

You know it’s not good for you—all that sugar without a hint of nutritional value. Here’s another mark against it: Soda may raise blood pressure, according to a new study. The link isn’t ironclad, but why not dial back?

Plus: What Are the Best Foods to Eat

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