6 Additions and Subtractions for a Healthier Life

From research labs around the world, simple additions and subtractions that just might result in a healthier life.

Blueberries. In a recent study, obese volunteer slowered their diabetes risk by drinking a smoothie loaded with blueberries twice a day. The blueberries increased insulin sensitivity, which helps keep blood sugar levels healthy. And another study, in mice, suggested the fruit can help prevent hardening of the arteries.

Massages. In a small study, people who got a Swedish massage showed an increase in certain immune cells, possibly giving the immune system a tune-up.

Rinsing in the dentist’s chair. A dental sealant is an effective cavity preventive for kids, say researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, but some types of sealant may release bisphenol A (BPA) for a short time after it’s applied. If your child gets this treatment, make sure he or she rinses for 30 seconds afterward.

Sleep deprivation. Dieters who got 8.5 hours of sleep nightly lost 56 percent more body fat than they did when eating the same diet but getting just 5.5 hours of sleep a night.

Cocktails as you get older. Among older volunteers walking on a treadmill, two alcoholic drinks doubled the likelihood that they would trip over a sudden obstacle.

Skipping the mittens. According to a recent British study, for every 1.8° (Fahrenheit) drop in outdoor temperature, your risk of having a heart attack in the next 28 days rises 2 percent. It’s not clear whether bundling up will prevent that increase in heart danger, the researchers say (shoveling snow may account for some of it). But dressing appropriately can’t hurt—and it may help.

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