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Barbara Corcoran has overcome a lot in her life. The Shark Tank star and entrepreneur struggled during school, dealt with dyslexia and had trouble holding down a job in her twenties until she famously turned $1,000 into one of the biggest real estate companies, The Corcoran Group, which she sold for $66 million in 2001. After years of working nonstop—starring on TV, motivational speaking, a podcast, mentoring new business owners, and investing in startups—Corcoran has had no plans to retire.

That was until a shoulder injury Corcoran suffered while playing tennis left her arm limp and immobile, with debilitating pain. Unable to do simple tasks around the house, she thought her career and active life was over.

This week, Corcoran spoke with The Healthy @Readers Digest to share her story for the first time about the surgery she was terrified of, and her inspiring recovery that has this 74-year-old entrepreneur back on the tennis courts, ski slopes, and full-force at work. Today Barbara Corcoran is proof that life doesn’t have to stop just because of age.

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Barbara Corcoran on her shoulder injury

The Healthy @Readers Digest: Thank you for taking the time to share your story. You experienced this terrible shoulder injury that you’ve said feared would be potentially career-ending. What happened?

Barbara Corcoran: I had an older injury on my shoulder from skiing that gave me a little discomfort, but you learn to live with stuff. However, I then fell flat on my shoulder and thought I broke it playing tennis. And I didn’t think it would be so bad, but I had never felt pain as severe as that.

Once I fell on the tennis court, I was scared to death I would lose my career. I give speeches for a living. For the most part, I live on a plane, and I couldn’t focus anymore. That was surprising. I was losing my train of thought. I actually wondered if I’d hurt my head instead! But the pain was too uncomfortable. I was worried that what I had known as my very active life was going to come to a screeching halt. I visited my doctor and he said, “I could do surgery and I think you’ll get the full use of your arm back”—and I had heard horror stories from so many people who had shoulder surgery that it’s the worst surgery. But I was willing to do that, if I could get my shoulder back.

The Healthy: It’s quite a switch in roles to go from being a self-assured business person to a vulnerable patient, placing all your trust in these healthcare professionals. Can you talk about that experience?

Corcoran: Well, I had the good fortune of having many knee injuries through skiing over the years. I had Dr. Altchek operate on my knees three times. So I had total confidence in the doctor. I thought he was the best at what he did. Everything went off without a hitch. So at the back of my mind, I thought, At least I have Dr. Altchek, and I hope he doesn’t retire before I can reach him. I just knew if there was any way that I could be back to myself, so to speak, he would get me back.

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Barbara Corcoran on her surgery & recovery

The Healthy: So how did the surgery go?

Barbara Corcoran: I told him how concerned I was with the surgery because all my friends and my husband had shoulder surgeries, the recovery was not pleasant at all. I told him that’s what I was worried about. And he said he was going to put a balloon in my shoulder, which I had not heard about. I later found out it wasn’t common at all.

He said the recovery wouldn’t be as bad as I was making it up to be. He said I was physically strong, and I was going to recover just as well as I did from the knee surgery. So I believed him somehow, or tried to believe him.

After the balloon surgery, it was so much easier than I expected. I think I wore the sling for three months and then I couldn’t do any physical activity, like skiing again, for another three months. So it was a long wait for me to be out of commission for six months. But the moment I came out of the surgery, I had my energy right back. I had no pain whatsoever, which was a miracle.

I scheduled a bike trip with my family in Europe, for exactly six months after the surgery. So I had something to look forward to. I got on that bike, I think I biked better than ever. I felt like a power woman.

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The Healthy: That’s incredible. Having a goal to look forward to can be powerful, mentally. In terms of your recovery, what do you think was different about your experience than that of your husband and your friends? What helped you?

Barbara Corcoran: Dr. Altchek told me a lot of that is because I was in great physical condition—which was true because I work out and I keep myself active.

The Healthy: So you’re already back with your active lifestyle, tennis, ski slopes. You mentioned the bike tour. Has there been any fear about that, following your injury? And what does your active lifestyle look like now?

Barbara Corcoran: Well, it’s the same as it’s always been, but I have more confidence than I had before the surgery. I think I was a little nervous on that first bike trip. I kept thinking, What if I fall? What if I fall?

I didn’t fall. But once that was under my belt, I felt like somebody gave me a ticket back into heaven. And with more appreciation than ever as to the freedoms—I had to do whatever I wanted and the physical capacity to be able to do them. After six months, I went on a ski trip—and I’ll tell you, when I went down that mountain, I was a bird again. I was flying down the mountain with the freedom of the air around me like my feet weren’t on the ground. And it was just as delicious, if not more so than it had ever been.

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Barbara Corcoran on her career

The Healthy: You’re the epitome of a woman who fought for her place in professional environments where there aren’t a lot of women present. A lot of readers will relate to this. What felt like was at stake for you?

Barbara Corcoran: Oh, my career. Because if I couldn’t be the high energy person that people hired all the time, to motivate other people to say, “Life is great, and this is how your life could be better!” When I was down and out myself, I couldn’t fake it—I’m too genuine.

And so getting up in front of an audience, I was flying at half-mast. So I really thought it would be a courtesy to the audience for me to leave the stage. Period. It was mostly in my head, a battle of the head, wasn’t it? But it was real, the pain. I couldn’t do the activities that I thrived on. I loved skiing. I loved biking every morning in Central Park. I loved jogging. I loved any sport. You throw it at me and I felt like I was living life. And without that kind of enthusiasm, it affected everything I did. I felt old, honestly.

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The Healthy: You’re in your seventies now, and still extremely active.

Barbara Corcoran: Who told you that? Who told you that? You’re wrong, Laura! No, I think I’m in my forties!

The Healthy: Well, you look like you’re in your forties. That part is very true. And you act like you’re in your forties. How does continuing in your thriving career stimulate you? And why is it so important to you where many people in your situation with the financial resources and accolades behind them, would maybe retire and sit on a beach in Bermuda?

Barbara Corcoran: I tried to retire once and I learned my lesson. When I sold my business, I was 50. I had a ton of cash. I could do whatever I wanted and I said, “I’m going to retire. I’m going to do all the things I didn’t do in my life now because I worked so hard.”

So I signed up for an Italian cooking class and I took the cooking class. And that day I said, “I’m not retiring. This is not for me.” It was nothing like I thought it would be. It was a great class, but I knew my husband would leave me sooner or later if I was going to be at home with him all the time. I didn’t know where to put my energy. I knew I’d ruin my kids by focusing too much on them. And I was lonely without the team that I worked with. I mean, I never realized how important it was to me to be part of a team, trying to run up a mountain with a group of people I loved with me. Retirement wasn’t for me—not just me, but everyone who has built a business, a lot of entrepreneurs, are never happy again when they sell their business. I witnessed that over and over again.

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Barbara Corcoran’s self-care routine

The Healthy: That’s beautiful. What is your healthcare routine in terms of nutrition and exercise? I think you’re an inspiration to a lot of people.

Barbara Corcoran: Well, you won’t want to use this part because on nutrition, I don’t even think about it. I eat whatever I want. And my favorite food is lime potato chips. So I imagine if anyone analyzed my diet, they’d probably say it was very unhealthy. But I don’t worry about it because I don’t seem to be unhealthy. So I won’t change it until I find out.

But I am very dogged about my physical workout. I work out with a trainer three days a week. And thank God, when I had my first baby at 46, I had a friend who gave me a gift of her trainer for three sessions. And I did it coming out of the hospital right away, to get it out of the way basically and to tell [my friend] I did it. And I never ever stopped.

Not only does it keep me firm and in good physical shape, but more than that, it makes a difference in my head. If I have to skip a workout, I’m not as mentally alert. I can’t think as well—I just can’t. I’m not in the same state. My confidence isn’t as good, which is weird.

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The Healthy: Are there any other self-care practices you refuse to skip?

Barbara Corcoran: I ride my bike all the time. I don’t think of that as healthcare, but I think of it as…worry-free. You can’t be on a bike and worry about something, it’s impossible. And not just me, I’ve talked to other people about it who bike. And I’m not talking about serious biking, like a hundred miles. I don’t do that. I bike my little pedals around Central Park, but at the minute you’re on the bike, you’re 12 years old again.

The Healthy: Tell us how you’re seeing things today.

Barbara Corcoran: What I think I have learned through the injury, is a lot about aging. Aging sucks in my opinion. That’s how I feel about it. It’s really like you just watch yourself physically look less attractive and be less able. Fortunately, I’m just as able as I ever was—thank God for the balloon surgery. I think you have to, when you get older, appreciate all the things that you’re supposed to appreciate. But aging is really just not so good. I’m not into aging at all. I’d like to avoid it.

The Healthy: I think that’s relatable. My mom always says, getting old sucks. But the alternative is worse.

Barbara Corcoran: Yeah, that’s true. I’m not going there ever, though.

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A sore throat is a common symptom and can be the result of having too much fun—at a ballgame or concert, for example—or it can be the result of something more serious, like streptococcal bacteria, the cause of strep throat. (Which, if you know you know…is decidedly not fun.)

In between those factors, there’s a range of possibilities that cause a sore throat. One of these is seasonal allergies. Allergies are not uncommon—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31.8% of Americans have some sort of allergy and 25.7% suffer from seasonal allergies.

How to Stop Allergies Immediately, According to Allergy & Immunology Doctors

Can allergies cause a sore throat?

David Berger, MD, board-certified pediatrician and founder of Dr. David MD explains that a common allergy symptom is nasal congestion and discharge, and the discharge can flow both ways.

If it flows forward, you get a runny nose. If it flows backward, you get a postnasal drip which can lead to a sore throat. “Mucus in the throat can be irritating and can cause a sore throat,” Dr. Berger says. “When allergies are present, on examining the throat, not only is a postnasal drip often seen, but the throat may also appear raw and irritated,” he explains. “Sometimes we see ‘cobblestoning’ on the back of the throat, which is blister-like protrusions filled with serous fluid that can also be painful.”

When Exactly Is Allergy Season?

Why do allergies cause a sore throat?

“Allergies can cause a release of histamine, which creates increased swelling and fluid in the tissues of the sinuses and nasal cavity,” explains Jill Carnahan, MD, a functional medicine doctor in Colorado. Dr. Carnahan explains that postnasal drip causing irritation of the throat, which can lead to throat clearing and even a sore throat.

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How do we know if it’s a sore throat from allergies or something else?

When sore throat became a symptom of the COVID-19, some of us wondered if we’d pass on the symptom. “With allergies from result from exposure to allergens—such as dog, cat, pollen, mold or dust—the irritation will often be worse in the morning and improve throughout the day,” explains David Morris, MD, Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “In contrast, sore throat from infection often continues throughout the day.”

Purvi Parikh, MD, FACP, FACAAI, adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist, Professor at New York University School of Medicine, and National Spokeswoman for the Allergy & Asthma Network says that it often depends on how long the symptoms last. “If it lasts for many weeks and occurs every year at same time, or year-round daily, and is associated with nasal congestionsneezing; and itchy, watery eyes, it’s likely allergies,” Parikh says.

Dr. Parikh points out that with infection, the sore throat usually comes on quick, lasts a week to 10 days, and is often accompanied by fevers over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, fatigue, and muscle aches. “The only foolproof way to be sure is to be tested for infections such as COVID, flu and strep throat to rule them out,” Dr. Parikh says.

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How do we treat a sore throat from allergies?

“It’s necessary to properly treat the allergies themselves to prevent the sore throat from occurring,” Dr. Berger says. “Throat lozenges and oral pain medications can be used to treat symptoms if the pain is bad.” Basically, you want to soothe the discomfort in your throat while also stopping the postnasal drip caused by allergies, which is what’s causing the irritation in your throat.

Dr. Parikh recommends treating the allergies and eliminating the postnasal drip with oral antihistamines that last 24 hours such as ZyrtecXyzalAllegra or Claritin. “Nasal steroid sprays and nasal antihistamine sprays are very effective,” she says. However, you may want to avoid decongestants like Afrin spray and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and any allergy med with the letter D standing along at the end of the name, as this can make allergies worse due to a rebound effect. Dr. Parikh says plain Zyrtec is good, but Zyrtec D is not for long-term use.

In addition to Dr. Parikh’s suggestions, Dr. Morris recommends honey to soothe soreness in the throat. For natural remedies, Dr. Carnahan likes stinging nettles tea to soothe allergy symptoms, and she also recommends Quercetin, which is found in foods such as capers, hot yellow peppers, dill weed and onions, or can be bought as a supplement.

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Maybe you use a good lip balm with SPF…but when you’re skiing, boating or just enjoying lunch with friends on a patio, your favorite chappy might escape your grip. Sunburned lips have happened to the best of us—but, says an emergency room doctor, sunburn on the lips should be avoided. “The skin of the lips is very thin and very easily damaged especially by the UV radiation of the sun,” explains Ken Perry, MD, FACEP, an emergency department physician in Charleston, SC.

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Nadia Rizzo, ND, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, says frequently reapplying a good SPF lip balm isn’t just a quirky habit for friends to lovingly tease you about.”Lip cancer is causally related to lifetime sun exposure,” she says, “and UV radiation from the sun can accounts for approximately half of lip cancers. Many of us go to the beach prepared with topical treatments, such as aloe vera gels and creams and take caution to hide in the shade or cover our skin, but it’s less common that we think about protecting our lips,” Dr. Rizzo says.

Dr. Rizzo suggests you think of it like this: You wouldn’t put regular lotion on your skin and expect it to protect you from a sunburn, yet people put regular lip balm on their lips and expect it to yield sun protection. Another issue is people wearing sun-protective clothing and hats—but even when wearing a hat, you need to protect your lips. Here’s what to do if your lips get sunburned.

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Prevention is key

“An ounce of prevention is key,” says Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, who is dual board-certified in dermatology and dermatopathology (meaning he specializing in examining biopsies and other clinical tests to diagnose skin pathologies, such as skin cancers).

Dr. Mudgil says that even among sunscreens that contain SPF, some are better than others. “Titanium or zinc-containing sunscreen lip balms are key and work amazingly well,” Dr. Mudgil says. “There are a ton out there to choose from, but I personally like EltaMD’s UV Lip Balm.”

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What to do if you burn your lips

Sunburned lips are going to feel sensitive, and the delicate skin is going to require some extra care. “Using a generous amount of thick ointment, such as Aquaphor or Vaseline, to keep the nerve endings from being exposed to the air can be helpful,” says Beth Goldstein, MD, FAAD, a Mohs surgeon and co-founder of Modern Ritual Health, a telehealth service. “Avoid salty, spicy, acidic foods or flavorings that can aggravate the skin of the lips,” Dr. Goldstein says, “and use zinc oxide to prevent further sun damage to the lips.” (Dr. Goldstein points out that some sunscreen products should be avoided while the skin is still raw, as they may be more irritating than helpful.)

Sunburned lips can be painful, and Dr. Mudgil recommends oral ibuprofen to help. “Applying cold compresses or ice and aloe vera can help soothe the skin,” he says. Dr. Goldstein suggests popsicles to help soothe the pain. Try making your own popsicles with soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea and honey.

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When to see a doctor for sunburned lips

If you have a history of cold sores or fever blisters, having a sunburn can trigger a severe flare up. “If you have access to antiviral medications such as valacyclovir, using it under your health care provider’s direction immediately before symptoms occur can help reduce the severity of the flare,” Dr. Goldstein says.

If the pain is severe you should see your healthcare provider who may prescribe topical numbing medications, which should be used with care because the topical numbing gets absorbed systemically and can get to toxic levels. “If there is increasing pain, swelling inside the mouth or a rash or blisters elsewhere, you should seek medical care,” Dr. Goldstein says.

“Lips can blister very much like other tissue, but given the location, it is difficult to not have them rupture which can cause a concern for infection control,” Dr. Perry says. “Blisters are actually helpful in keeping bacteria out of the wound.” He says that if your lips get very swollen, you may need to see your primary care physician or even seek medical care at an emergency department.

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It’s exciting to watch flowers bloom as the weather turns warm, but those spring allergies can be a buzzkill. If you find yourself always sneezing and itching as the seasons turn, you may be dealing with a seasonal allergy from pollen now floating in the air. But can allergies make you cough, as well? In the era of COVID-19 and recent harsh flu seasons, it can be confusing to know whether symptoms like fever or cough are linked to typical seasonal allergies. So is your cough from a virus, or are allergies to blame?

The answer is indeed it could be your allergies, according to a medical doctor specializing in allergy care and immunity. While allergies are typically associated with sneezing and watery, itchy eyes, coughing is also a common symptom of allergies—both with seasonal allergies and allergies that linger all year.

To better understand what causes it and how to stop an allergy cough, The Healthy @Reader’s Digest asked Dr. Andrea Burke, MD, a New York City-based board-certified allergist and immunologist.

When Exactly Is Allergy Season?

What causes an allergy cough?

According to Dr. Burke, there are two main ways that allergies can make you cough: Upper Airway Cough Syndrome (UACS) and allergic asthma.

“[Upper Airway Cough Syndrome] occurs when people with allergies experience swelling in the nose,” Dr. Burke explains. “The swelling leads to mucus production. If mucus drains anteriorly (out the front), people will have a ‘runny nose.’ If mucus drains posteriorly (down the back of the throat), we call this ‘post-nasal drip.'”

Dr. Burke adds that post-nasal drip can cause irritation in the back of the throat, which can lead to repeated throat clearing and coughing throughout the day.

Allergic asthma is slightly different, occurring when a person is breathing in an allergen that triggers asthma—like pollen, dust, or animal dander. “Symptoms can include cough, as well as wheeze, chest tightness, and shortness of breath,” Dr. Burke says. “The symptoms are a result of allergic inflammation in the airways of the lungs and the reactivity of these airways. Because the symptoms arise from the lungs, we often use inhaled medications.”

An Allergist Says Seasonal Allergies Really Are Worse Than Ever This Year—Here’s Why

Here’s how to stop an allergy cough

If you’re dealing with an uncomfortable cough from allergies, Dr. Burke says there are a few steps you can take to alleviate this seemingly relentless symptom.

Step one: Find out what you’re allergic to

The easiest way to start treatment for an allergy cough is to know what’s triggering that cough in the first place. Dr. Burke recommends seeing an allergist to get a skin or blood test to determine that allergen so a doctor can write up the best plan for treatment.

Step two: Minimize exposure to allergens

“Once you know what you are allergic to, try strategies to minimize exposure to allergens,” says Dr. Burke. “For instance: Putting allergen covers on your mattress and pillows to minimize dust mite exposure, running an air purifier with a HEPA filter in the home to reduce allergens in the air, and keeping the windows closed when pollen counts are high.”

If you’re dealing with a seasonal allergy, you can determine the severity of the pollen count in your area. The most common pollen seasonal allergies include:

  • tree pollen (March through May)
  • grass pollen (May through July)
  • ragweed pollen (August and September)

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Step three: Try allergy medications

Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can noticeably relieve allergy symptoms—including an allergy cough. “Allergy medications taken by mouth can help reduce allergy symptoms in both the nose and lungs: Over-the-counter antihistamines (such as cetirizine) and/or prescription medications (such as montelukast).”

For Upper Airway Cough Syndrome, try nasal rinses

If your allergy cough is coming from Upper Airway Cough Syndrome, Dr. Burke says another simple solution is to regularly rinse allergens and mucus from your airway with saltwater nasal rinses and sprays. These include nasal corticosteroids, which help reduce allergic inflammation and swelling in the nose that cause you to cough.

For allergic asthma, try inhalers

As for allergic asthma, Dr. Burke says an inhaler could be beneficial for relaxing and opening up the airways. She recommends inhalers that are anti-inflammatory, such as albuterol or fluticasone.

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Save for the occasional soda at a birthday party or a friend’s house, I wasn’t much of a soda fan as a kid. Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, the only soda (or “pop,” as we called it there) that I felt much fondness for was root beer—particularly when it was paired with vanilla ice cream in a float. You just can’t beat a classic.

During my college years, my typical mixer of choice was more likely to be juice flavoring than soda. Or, much to my liver’s dismay, just the addition of a squeezable water flavoring into whatever budget-friendly adult beverage we had on hand. (Yikes…it was college, OK?)

My diet soda habit, on the other hand, began just a few years back when I made the swap to the caffeinated beverage in an attempt to stop drinking so much coffee. Unfortunately, the whole moderation thing didn’t stick. Now I find myself reaching for a Diet Coke more frequently than I’d like.

Admittedly, drinking diet soda every day was less of an assignment than a habit I’d already established. But during the past week, I was forced to examine my relationship with the fizzy drink and really pay attention to the way it affects my body.

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Is diet soda healthier than regular soda?

Before I started this experiment, I was curious whether diet soda was really a healthy alternative to regular soda. “The short answer is that all soda, diet or regular, should be avoided,” says Angela Gasbarre, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Denver, CO. “Nutritionally, soda doesn’t provide any benefit to us.”

If you’re trying to kick a soda habit, Gasbarre says making the switch from regular to diet is going to be an improvement. “From there, you’ll want to gradually decrease the amount you drink over a few weeks until you replace the diet soda habit with healthier options, such as water or seltzers,” she says.

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What are some of the health effects of drinking diet soda?

The research backs up Gasbarre’s point. The Harvard School of Public Health states there’s sufficient scientific evidence that decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Because the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda can cause cravings for sugary, high-calorie foods, it often ends up canceling out the potential to cut your overall calorie intake.

Research shows that the gut microbiome may be the secret key to unlocking better health and disease prevention. But drinking diet soda may also be holding you back from achieving a healthy gut.

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“Artificial sweeteners and diet products are not good for our gut health, as most disrupt the balance of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria,” Gasbarre says. “Nonnutritive sweeteners promote the growth of the ‘bad’ bacteria and can alter glucose metabolism.”

Though I didn’t observe any effects on my gut health or cravings during my weeklong experiment, there were some other major impacts I noticed from my diet soda habit. Spoiler: I think it’s time for a breakup.

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What drinking diet soda every day for a week did to my body

I drank less water

I normally do a decent job at staying hydrated. If I don’t, the sweltering Texas heat humbles me pretty quickly. But during a week of drinking diet soda daily, I found I wasn’t refilling my Hydro Flask with water as much throughout the day. I assumed it was because a person can only have so many beverages on their desk at a time, but as it turns out, there may be more behind it.

According to a 2012 study, drinking diet soda can influence how the brain processes sweet flavors by affecting dopamine—the neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure and motivation. In other words, this beverage that’s purported to satisfy a sweet tooth may actually trigger a sugar craving even worse. So it made sense that rather than reach for my water bottle, I found myself more likely to get another Diet Coke from the fridge.

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I felt more bloated

Throughout the week, I noticed I was a bit more bloated than usual. While it wasn’t too significant to the point of discomfort, the difference made itself apparent when I went to pick up a bridesmaid dress from a fitting and the zipper felt a little more snug than it did days before. Since a 2017 study found that the carbonation and artificial sweetener content in diet soda can cause gas and water retention, this wasn’t all too surprising. (The same study found diet soda also increased the body’s production of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” that tells the body it’s time to eat.)

7 Mindful Eating Hacks to Cure Indigestion, Bloating, and Gas

My teeth felt more sensitive

Because I’m currently in the process of aligning my teeth with Invisalign, I wasn’t sure if the increased sensitivity I experienced during my week of drinking diet soda daily was due to the drink or not. But a quick look at the research suggested it certainly wasn’t helping matters.

According to a 2013 study, Diet Coca-Cola was found to be more erosive than its sugar-laden counterpart. A separate study published in 2019 concluded that the commercial sweeteners in both regular soda and low calorie soda have an effect on surface tooth enamel. So if you’re someone with sensitive teeth, drinking diet soda may not be doing you any favors.

This Is the Healthiest Type of Fizzy Water, Say Doctors (and a Dentist)

How drinking diet soda every day made me think differently

I’m a strong proponent of the 80/20 rule: A diet approach that includes eating as healthy as you can 80% of the time, and enjoying less healthy options 20% of the time. And while I do a pretty good job at this on the food front, I realized I was writing off my Diet Coke consumption as a healthier alternative without fully examining how it was making me feel.

While I can’t promise I’ll ditch my beloved fizzy beverage for good, my examination inspired me to cut back and think of soda more as a special treat rather than my caffeine lifeline.

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Statins, a class of widely prescribed medications, are crucial in helping millions of people manage cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy heart. These effective drugs primarily focus on lowering the production of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, often known as the “bad” cholesterol, in the liver. However, despite these benefits, some individuals may encounter statin intolerance, which impacts their ability to continue taking these medications.

Statin intolerance sneaks up when side effects or adverse reactions make it difficult or impossible to take statins. Diagnosing it can be tricky, as symptoms might masquerade as other conditions or be mistakenly attributed to factors like age, physical activity, or stress. Furthermore, the symptoms can vary from person to person, ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating pain, making it even more challenging to pin down and identify.

This Natural Sweetener May Lower Cholesterol and Blood Sugar, New Study Says

Statin intolerance symptoms

The most common symptom of statin intolerance are muscle issues, also known as myalgia. But there’s more. According to the American Heart Association, some potential signs of statin intolerance include fatigue, abdominal pain, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, and memory loss or confusion.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to chat with your healthcare provider. They’ll help determine if it’s statin intolerance or something else.

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Discovering alternative cholesterol-busting options

If you have difficulty tolerating statins, don’t worry—there may be some other options to help manage your cholesterol levels. An April 2023 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights bempedoic acid as a potential treatment for those who struggle with statin intolerance. Stephen Nissen, MD, the study’s chair and chief academic officer at the Heart Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, explains that this study is the first to directly address statin-intolerant patients, yielding highly favorable results for this population.

The study’s findings were impressive: Heart-related complications decreased by 13% to 15%, heart attack risk was reduced by 23%, and stent or bypass surgery risk dropped by 19%. Although Dr. Nissen stresses that statins are effective for most patients, bempedoic acid may offer an alternative treatment with minimal side effects.

In addition, the American College of Cardiology lists alternatives such as ezetimibe, PCSK9 inhibitors, and Inclisiran. Each medication works differently to help lower cholesterol levels, and their suitability varies depending on individual needs. Work closely with your healthcare provider, monitor side effects, and be aware of potential medication interactions.

The Best and Worst Diets for Your Cholesterol, Says UCLA Cardiologist

Lifestyle changes that make a difference

A healthy lifestyle is the best way to combat high cholesterol. Eat a balanced diet with many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while avoiding too many saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and added sugars. Exercise regularly, aiming for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week, plus strength training at least twice a week.

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for cholesterol control. Keep an eye on your weight and, if needed, consult a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to develop a safe, long-term weight loss plan. Additionally, quitting smoking greatly benefits your heart and cholesterol levels.

Statin intolerance doesn’t need to be a roadblock on the path to better heart health. With alternative treatments and the support of a healthcare provider, individuals can navigate their cholesterol management journey confidently. By embracing a healthy lifestyle and exploring innovative options, those facing statin intolerance can continue to strive for improved cardiovascular health.

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There are countless benefits to exercising regularly, with many people having favorite workouts or go-to machines, like the Peloton bike. But, Peloton users may need to double-check their machines due to a May 11 recall of more than 2 million bikes by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Which Peloton bikes are being recalled?

The recall is for the original Peloton bike, which has the model number PL01. According to the CPSC, the affected bikes are 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. Additionally, the bikes have an adjustable seat, handlebar and screen which tilts.

Why are these Peloton bikes recalled?

Woman rides her Peloton exercise bike at her home

The recall is due to a risk of the bike’s seat breaking and falling off the machine while in use. The faulty seats pose a fall and injury hazard to users, of which Peloton has received 13 reports. These 13 injuries are part of a total of 35 reports Peloton has received of seats breaking and falling off during use.

How do I know if I have a recalled Peloton bike?

Consumers can figure out if they have an affected bike by checking their Peloton model number. The CPSC explains that the model number will be found on “the inside front fork, near the flywheel” of the bike.

Sold between January 2018 to May 2023 at a price of around $1,400, the recalled bikes could be bought at Peloton and Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across the country. In addition, the affected bikes were sold online on the One Peloton, Amazon and Dicks Sporting Goods websites.

What should I do if I have a recalled product?

If consumers have a recalled Peloton bike, the CPSC advises them to immediately stop using them. Then, consumers can contact Peloton at 866-679-9129 between 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. E.T. any day of the week to request a free seat post, which can be self-installed. Or, consumers can go to www.one.peloton.com and click on the Product Recalls option to learn more.

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Just like everything, sunburn exists on a spectrum, and there’s a big difference between getting a little pink, turning a dark red, and getting too much sun and winding up with a second-degree burn…which usually results in sun blisters.

“Sun blisters are due to radiation damage from both UVA (deeper) and UVB (more superficial) rays,” explains Beth Goldstein, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist specializing in Mohs surgery and co-founder of Modern Ritual Health, a dermatology telemedicine service. “The blistering signals damage at the junction between the top part of the skin, the epidermis and the dermis,” Dr. Goldstein says.

‘What SPF Do I Need?’ Here’s a Dermatologist’s Reliable Method for Choosing

What is a sun blister?

“Sun blisters are fluid-filled bumps on badly sunburned skin, which indicate a second-degree burn,” says Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. “You’ll know you have one if you develop tense, painful blisters on sunburned skin.”

Ken Perry, MD, FACEP, is an emergency room physician in Charleston, SC. Dr. Perry points out that the blisters may be small, but any blistering of the skin is indicative of a burn. “Burns of the skin can happen from hot liquid, or from chemicals, or in the case of a sunburn from UV radiation,” Dr. Perry says.

Sunscreen Safety Is Under Fire This Summer—Doctors Share the Facts

What to do if you have a sun blister?

“Sun blisters need to be treated the same way as blisters from any other burn,” Dr. Perry says, noting that you may be tempted to pop a blister—which seems like it could help control pain or help the skin feel less tight—but you want to do your best to keep them from rupturing, and not to intentionally break your already-damaged skin. “It’s better for infection control to leave them in place,” Dr. Perry says. “If they do open, it is best to put a dressing over them that won’t stick to the skin and keep it very clean and dry.”

Dr. Mudgil recommends ibuprofen or Tylenol to help with the pain, but points out that patience is key and there’s no way to fast-track the process. “Treating sun blisters essentially entails supportive care and ‘waiting it out,'” Dr. Mudgil says.

Dr. Goldstein recommends the following:

Here’s Exactly What to Look for in a Sunscreen

When to seek medical treatment for sun blisters?

Even the most vigilant sunscreen users occasionally miss a spot. And sometimes we get more sun on one area of our body—often the shoulders or feet—because of how we’re positioned at a ballgame or other event where there isn’t a lot of moving around. If you got more sun that you bargained for and wound up with a few small sun blisters, you can probably self-treat at home, while also being mindful of the symptoms of sun poisoning.

But widespread second-degree burns can have more consequences. “If more than 20% of the body is involved, you can get dehydrated and your body can get quite stressed,” Dr. Goldstein says. “If you have any underlying medical conditions, you need to seek treatment, especially if you are not feeling well with dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting or severe chills as this may be a sign of serious dehydration.”

“If you have symptoms that seem to be worsening or worry that your sun blister(s) may be possibly infected, medical care should be sought possibly in the emergency department,” Dr. Perry says, “and if your sun blisters get infected, they may need to be treated with antibiotics.”

Moving forward, that skin will be a bit more tender for a while, and Dr. Mudgil reminds readers that an ounce of prevention is key! “Wearing sunscreen and reapplying as needed is an easy way to prevent a sunburn,” Dr. Mudgil says. “This should be combined with avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak hours, seeking shade when possible and wearing hats.”

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Rachael Ray is entering a new phase in her life. Decades after rising to become one of the biggest Food Network personalities, not to mention an impressive 17 years as host of The Rachael Ray Show, the TV cooking powerhouse is saying Arrivaderci to her Emmy-winning network TV series.

But before any Rachael Ray fans worry she’s planning to retire and ride off into the Tuscan sunset, Rachael Ray told us: “I’m not dead!” Far from it—the 54-year-old is launching a new production company, has four shows in the works and is still partnering with brands she loves—most recently Genova Premium Tuna, with whom she’s giving fans the opportunity to win an al fresco outdoor dining kit.

Ray hopped on the phone with The Healthy @Readers Digest from her place in New York to talk about what she’s looking forward to next, the pain-in-the-butt (literally!) injury she’s recovering from, and how her new life in Tuscany has sparked touching nostalgia.

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Rachael Ray’s favorite fish dish

The Healthy @Readers Digest: Our readers love learning about the health benefits of tuna. It’s a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids—which is necessary for optimizing so many functions and organs, including a healthy brain. When you’re standing in the grocery store aisle, it can be tough to discern what you really need. How do you select the tuna you want to use when you’re cooking?

Rachael Ray: Genova is a premium tuna, of course, but it’s hand-filleted, it’s wild-caught, and it’s in olive oil. I’m an Italian, that’s how we buy our tuna, and tuna is a staple. My job is to cook food that is affordable and that you can have on hand in your pantry.

My grandfather, Emmanuel Scuderi, came to America when he was just a child and he had 10 children of his own. He grew everything, or he lived off of hand-stored and jarred food for the rest of the family’s ingredients. So it’s something I like to reteach people over and over again, because I don’t think people think of it. When I was a kid, everybody had tuna casserole and used tuna in a million different ways and they just don’t anymore. And I don’t know why. The staples of a pantry are so, so important.

The Healthy: What do you love to cook?

Rachael Ray: I love making a tuna puttanesca, all sorts of fresh tuna salads for the summer. I love making my sister’s favorite, this lemon pasta with lots of roasted baby artichokes. It’s just such an easy go-to for people, and I think we all have lives that are so busy. One of my favorite pizzas of all time is Regina—it’s tomatoes with tuna.

I Ate Tuna Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

Rachael Ray on how travel keeps us well

The Healthy: You have a place in Tuscany—how much time do you spend in Italy, and is there anything you’d like to share about why travel and experiencing beautiful places is so important to health and the spirit?

Rachael Ray: Well, that’s a whopper of a question. I could be here for hours for that, but everybody will roll their eyes if I do that. The reason I chose Tuscany is because I was married there, and so it’s very special to me. I bought land, and my husband said, “Don’t do this, please.” There was no electricity, there were no toilets, there was no running water, nothing. The only thing that was kept up on the property were the grape vines for Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello [wines], the Sangiovese grape, and olive trees. That was it. Those were kept perfect, but the family for a couple generations…no one wanted to live there. I fell in love with our little patch of land. I’ve always been a person who works by feeling. I just work from my gut and that’s how I know what the next right thing is to do.

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The Healthy: What health rituals have you learned from living in Italy?

Rachael Ray: They’re the same I was brought up with. I was brought up by my grandfather—he was my babysitter when I was little and my absolute best friend for many years until he passed. My mom is first-generation, she was born here. My grandfather and my mom are the way I live. I liked kale before kale was cool. I liked fish before eating more seafood was cool for everybody else. I grew up as a little Sicilian kid. I didn’t get the American part of me until much later. But I lived very much the life that I live when I’m in Italy.

10 Healthy Kale Recipes You’ll Actually Enjoy

Rachael Ray’s self-care secrets

The Healthy: What is one self-care routine that you refuse to skip?

Rachael Ray: Well, it used to be climbing five miles of stairs every morning and listening to my favorite music on a playlist that my husband makes for me. But I recently truly fell on my tush trying to save the zucchini flowers from falling before me, and I broke my tush. So I can’t do the stairs that I love, but that’s probably my favorite thing. I drink tons of water at night. I drink lots of wine or my husband’s martinis during the day, and I hate having a broken tush.

The Healthy: Yeah, that’s horrible. I’m so sorry.

Rachael Ray: It takes like eight, 10 weeks, but whatever. I’m alive.

23 Celebs Share the Self-Care Secrets They Never, Ever Skip

Rachael Ray on ending The Rachael Ray Show

The Healthy: What’s next for you as The Rachel Ray Show wraps its final season?

Rachael Ray: I have five shows coming out, but I can’t tell everybody about them until the paperwork is signed. But I will be doing a thing on my own and four other things, producing other people.

The Healthy: Amazing. You started the show in your thirties, and now you’re in your fifties. What feels different at this time in your life?

Rachael Ray: Oh, I started working when I was 12. I started at Food Network when I was in my early twenties, so it’s been a lot longer than that. People think about my life, I think because it was 17 years, that it was just The Rachel Ray Show. But I was working many, many years before that. My first year at Food Network, I did 263 episodes between the travel show and the 30 Minute Meals. So it’s been a long run, a real long run so far, but I’m not dead. We are just changing, shifting gears, and I still hope to work with many of the people I have been working with for all these decades. I’ve watched them marry, have children, grow families. Our show family is very much a part of my life and they are family to me. So they’re going to pop up. I can at least be the side hustle for a lot of them.

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The Healthy: You’ve been such a big part of the cultural shift toward better eating. What have you noticed has changed in terms of the way people grocery-shop and eat?

Rachael Ray: They’re more educated as to what they buy—the importance of the quality of what they buy, how it’s caught, how the proteins, especially, are treated. The diversity is incredible. I was a buyer in food for many years and it used to be … that you’d have to go to a specialty store and pay a premium. Now, whether I’m in upstate New York or here, I can walk around the corner and there are gluten-free options, there are meat-free options. And all of what used to be called a high-end product are reasonably priced now because the market bears it. Because people care about what their food is and where it comes from.

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The Healthy: You’ve started Free Food Studios. What is it, and what inspired the name?

Rachael Ray: We are people that are free-thinkers. We’re not scripted or over-scripted. We just want to make TV that we believe in and we want it to be completely real. No “open the door three times” or re-say something four times. Just keep it real and tell people the truth. So, Free Food is just about a way of free-thinking.

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Despite impressive improvements in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, the number of invasive cases diagnosed each year in the US impacting women in their 40s has been gradually increasing since 2015. Data show that African-American women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than are Caucasian women—a grim statistic that has not improved much over time.

With these facts in mind, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a highly influential panel whose recommendations are often adopted by American agencies, recently released a draft statement with new breast cancer screening guidelines.

The FDA Just Released a New Requirement for Mammograms

What did USPSTF say about breast cancer screening?

The panel recommends that women of all ethnic and racial backgrounds begin receiving mammograms every-other year starting at age 40. This comes as a bit of a reversal of advice, as the panel had raised their recommended starting age for biannual mammogram screening from 40 to 50 back in 2009. At the time, the panel felt this would reduce the amount of unnecessary screenings and invasive procedures like biopsies in young women. It’s important to note that these new recommendations do not apply to certain groups of women, such as those who have previously had breast cancer or who received high doses of radiation to their chest at a young age.

Speaking about the new draft statement, Carol Mangione, MD, the Task Force’s immediate past chair, said the new advice is a positive step forward, telling MedPage Today: “If we could get all women screened who were eligible in our country, this change in our recommendation would reduce mortality from breast cancer by about 20%.”

This new draft statement’s advice isn’t overly surprising, given that other authoritative agencies and societies already recommend women receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40, including the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). Currently, the American Cancer Society’s advice is a bit less clear, recommending that women be offered the chance to receive annual mammograms starting at age 40, and begin getting annual mammograms at age 45.

Here’s Who Is at Greatest Risk for Developing Cancer from Drinking Alcohol

What’s next?

While this new draft statement may represent a step in the right direction, not every agency is impressed with the new recommended guidelines. Debra Monticciolo, MD, a member of the SBI’s board of directors, told Medpage Today that she was unpleased with the panel’s statement, claiming they should be recommending women receive mammograms annually, not biannually.

Monticciolo explained that based on modeling, annual screening for women aged 40 to 79 equates to a median 41.7% reduction in breast cancer deaths, whereas biennial screening strategies for women aged 40 to 74 equates to breast cancer mortality reductions of 30% and 28.4%, respectively. Representatives with the USPSTF claimed that models do estimate that annual screening may help reduce rates of breast cancer mortality, they also show that annual screening increases the risk of false positives and misdiagnosed cases by 50%.

Regardless of which guidelines are most effective, what remains obvious is the benefit of mammograms. In a 2020 study published in the journal Cancer, researchers found that Swedish women who underwent mammograms were 41% less likely to die from breast cancer within 10 years.

While the USPSTF draft statement is based on extensive research, its advice is not set in stone just yet. Members of the public can review their statement and supporting research and submit comments from May 9th to June 5th, 2023.

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Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people who catch RSV recover in a week or two; however, the virus can be severely dangerous for babies and seniors. It is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants 1 year old and younger. Each year, RSV leads to 80,000 hospitalizations of children under 5 and 177,000 hospitalizations of seniors.

Fortunately, help is on the way. On Wednesday, May 3, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved the first vaccine against RSV. Here’s everything you need to know about this historic advancement in medicine.

What is the RSV vaccine?

The new vaccine is called Arexvy and was developed by the pharmaceutical company GSK, formerly known as GlaxoSmithKline. In GSK’s trials, Arexvy was found to be 82% effective at preventing lower respiratory illnesses caused by RSV. Furthermore, Arexvy was 94% effective for those who had at least one underlying medical condition.

Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in the FDA’s statement that the “approval of the first RSV vaccine is an important public health achievement to prevent a disease which can be life-threatening and reflects the FDA’s continued commitment to facilitating the development of safe and effective vaccines for use in the United States.”

Are there any risks to the RSV vaccine?

General practitioner vaccinating old patient in private clinic

In February 2023, the FDA held an advisory panel meeting with GSK researchers. The researchers reported a few cases of neurological disorders in patients who had received the RSV vaccine. One 78-year-old woman in Japan was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré, a rare disorder in which the immune system attacks nerve cells about nine days after receiving the shot. Still, the FDA panel members decided to approve the vaccine, citing it as safe and effective.

Who is eligible for the RSV vaccine?

The RSV vaccine is specifically created and approved for administration in older adults. Back in March, the FDA recommended that adults aged 60 or older receive the vaccine. Arexvy will be administered to this vulnerable population as a shot.

What other RSV vaccines are in development?

There are several other RSV vaccines and immunizations under review currently. Three of the most notable include Sanofi’s monoclonal antibody immunization for infants (called nirsevimab), Pfizer’s RSV vaccine for people who are pregnant and Pfizer’s RSV vaccine for older adults, which has proven to be 85% effective at preventing lower respiratory tract illnesses caused by RSV. Hopefully, these vaccines will be further proven safe and approved, so that those people most vulnerable to RSV can receive appropriate protection soon.

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As if the testing for COVID wasn’t fraught and anxiety-ridden enough, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers and healthcare providers to stop using and throw out certain lots of a popular at-home COVID test.

The FDA has recalled SD Biosensor, Inc. Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Tests, distributed by Roche Diagnostics. There are significant concerns about the liquid solution in these test kits being contaminated with bacteria. Direct contact with the contaminated liquid solution may pose safety concerns and the bacterial contamination could impact the performance of the test. About 500,000 were distributed to CVS stores and 16,000 to Amazon, according to the FDA’s advisory.

“SD Biosensor Inc., the manufacturer of the Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test, informed Roche that this issue was identified during routine quality assurance testing. Potentially harmful bacteria were found in the liquid buffer solution,” Roche said in a statement.

Why were these COVID tests recalled?

Asian woman drops swab in a protective plastic tube after nasal swab test to check for virus at home

The liquid solution provided in the affected Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test kits has been found to be contaminated with bacteria such as Enterococcus, Enterobacter, Klebsiella and Serratia.

These organisms can cause illness in people with weakened immune systems or those directly exposed to the contaminated liquid. Additionally, the contamination can impact the performance of the tests, causing false positives or negatives.

To date, the FDA has not received reports of sickness or injury associated with the use of these at-home tests.

How can I tell if I have a recalled COVID test?

Pilot Covid 19 Test Recall Courtesy Sd Biosensor Inc FDA

The FDA is advising consumers to stop using and throw out Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test kits with the lot numbers listed below. If you have a test kit with one of these lot numbers, do not use it. Throw out the entire test kit in the household trash. Do not pour the liquid solution down the drain.

The lot numbers are as follows:

  • 53K38N1T
  • 53K4221T1
  • 53K4292T1
  • 53K38N2T1
  • 53K4222T1
  • 53K42A1T1
  • 53K38N3T1
  • 53K4223T1
  • 53K42A2T1
  • 53K38N4T1
  • 53K4224T1
  • 53K42A3T1
  • 53K38N5T1
  • 53K4225T1
  • 53K42E1T1
  • 53K38P1T1
  • 53K4231T1
  • 53K42G1T1
  • 53K38P2T1
  • 53K4232T1
  • 53K42G2T1
  • 53K38P3T1
  • 53K4233T1
  • 53K42H1T1
  • 53K41T5T1
  • 53K4261T1
  • 53K42H2T1
  • 53K41X1T1
  • 53K4262T1
  • 53K42L1T1
  • 53K41X2T
  • 53K4271T1
  • 53K42L2T1
  • 53K41X3T1
  • 53K4272T1
  • 53K4361AC
  • 53K4211T1
  • 53K4273T1
  • 53K4362AC
  • 53K4212T1
  • 53K4274T1
  • 53K4392AC
  • 53K4213T1
  • 53K4291T1

Green tea is well-known for its health benefits, from preventing cancer, heart disease, and metabolic disorders to offering anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it’s become the second-most consumed beverage worldwide, with its popularity for weight loss on the rise.

However, the positive effects of green tea might not be the full picture. According to a December 2022 review article in GastroHep, green tea consumption could actually damage your liver health.

This Is the Alcoholic Drink That’s Least Harmful to Your Liver, Says a Liver Doctor

What to know about green tea

As the popularity of green tea continues to soar, Professor Stephen Malnick, lead author and head of the internal medicine department at Kaplan Medical Center, emphasizes the relevance of their recent publication. He points out that the green tea market in the United States could grow to an impressive $27 billion by the end of this decade, showing just how much people love this healthy drink.

However, he reminds us that green tea can sometimes be a mix of materials from different countries, and some might contain tiny amounts of heavy metals, which can be bad for you. So always be sure to choose high-quality green tea from trusted sources.

Although uncommon, it’s also important to note that according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH – a division of the NIH), green tea extracts in pill form have been the main culprit in some individuals reporting liver problems.

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The positive effects of green tea

Brimming with antioxidants known as catechins, your cup of green tea boasts an impressive array of health advantages. These mighty catechins have been linked to cancer prevention, with studies indicating their potential to decrease the risk of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.

Green tea also enhances heart health by promoting better blood flow, reducing cholesterol levels, and preventing blood clot formation. And if that’s not enough, green tea can rev up your metabolism and aid in fat burning, making it a go-to choice for weight loss or weight maintenance.

The Power of Antioxidants and Tea

Green tea and liver health

While enjoying the numerous health benefits of green tea, you also need to be aware of potential liver-related side effects presented by the authors. Researchers at Israel’s Clalit Health Service and Kaplan Medical Center examined case reports, studies focusing on specific amounts of tea from the same plants or plant mixes, and cellular and animal experiments to gain a comprehensive understanding of green tea’s effect on liver health.

They found that botanical toxins in the tea plant may cause a metabolic reaction and lead to liver inflammation in some individuals. Green tea can also cause herbal-induced liver injury (HILI), an uncommon but potentially severe issue. With only 100 cases documented worldwide, HILI can result in acute liver failure or damage that takes months or years to reverse.

Diagnosing a direct connection between green tea consumption and liver failure can be challenging. It’s also worth noting that the exact components responsible for liver damage are not yet clear, and combining green tea with other drugs and herbs can lead to severe liver disease in some people. Nonetheless, the authors stress the importance of staying informed about potential risks and consulting a healthcare professional if you experience any suspicious symptoms.

9 Easy Habits That Can Reduce Your Liver Disease Risk

What to look out for when consuming green tea

Practicing moderation is crucial in green tea consumption, so stick to a reasonable amount, such as 2-3 cups per day, and avoid overconsumption. If you consider incorporating green tea into your daily routine, discuss it with your healthcare provider first. They can help you determine the right amount for your needs and ensure it doesn’t interact with your medications.

Finally, pay attention to your body: if you experience any symptoms, such as abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), or dark urine, after consuming excessive amounts of green tea, stop drinking it immediately and consult your healthcare provider.

For more wellness updates, subscribe to The Healthy @Reader’s Digest newsletter and follow The Healthy on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Keep reading:

I scream, you scream: When I think of summer, I think of ice cream! I live with my family in Los Angeles, where for more than a decade I’ve work as a certified nutritionist and yoga instructor…and being a nutritionist can still mean enjoying the occasional dessert. As the days grow hotter and the sun blazes longer, my body craves ice cream just like when I was growing up in New England, when we’d all climb into our stationwagon and drive to Dairy Queen as a special summer treat. It’s such a memorable part of my upbringing and just one of many reasons I love ice cream so much.

But for all my love of ice cream, I’m not so sure it loves me back. In my early twenties, I discovered a sensitivity when I ate a certain amount of dairy. Since then, I’ve found plenty of delicious alternatives I can also enjoy.

Ice cream & dairy intolerance

Boston Children’s Hospital says 30 million to 50 million Americans experience lactose intolerance. “Eating ice cream could negatively impact your digestion if you are sensitive to dairy or lactose intolerant,” says registered dietitian Erika Jacobson, MS, RD, CDN. “Ice cream is a higher-lactose food, so if you have lactose intolerance, you may experience stomach pain, cramping, gas, and diarrhea with dairy ice cream. This happens when your body lacks the lactase enzyme needed to break down lactose (a sugar naturally found in milk and dairy).”

So, for the purpose of this experiment, I switched up the types of dairy I tried and also opted for a non-dairy ice cream (a delicious recipe that you can try, featuring what data shows is America’s favorite fruit!).

Being a nutritionist doesn’t mean practicing dietary restriction; it’s more about knowing how much of which nutrients each of us needs and understanding that some of us experience symptoms that can be addressed with certain foods. Employing that awareness was important for this week-long trial when I ate ice cream every day.

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Is it healthy to eat ice cream every day?

April 2023 data suggested Americans count Ben & Jerry’s as their favorite ice cream brand, with 2022 sales totaling nearly a billion dollars. I kicked off this experiment with Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, which happens to be my favorite flavor. Here are a few points I noticed when I started eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream every day:

  • I couldn’t stop! I have such trouble with portion control with this marshmallow and fudge flavor because it’s very sweet, and as a nutritionist I know that sugar can have a strong addictive effect. According to the Ben & Jerry’s website, Phish Food contains 34 grams of added sugar (that’s 8.5 teaspoons), not to mention 18 grams of fat per a 2/3-cup serving. Thirteen of those 18 fat grams are saturated fat—and 13 grams of saturated fat happens to be the exact limit for how much saturated fat most of us should eat in a day based on American Heart Association guidelines. That’s super important to keep in mind for anyone who’s mindful about preventing heart disease and heart attack. Again: A single serving of Phish Food occupies your total saturated fat intake for the day.

  • My stomach wasn’t feeling great later on in the evening. I was very gassy and uncomfortable. I instantly knew that it was from the ice cream since I’ve already learned that when I eat too much dairy at once, it doesn’t sit well.

  • According to the ingredients list on Phish Food, the Ben & Jerry’s brand adds guar gum and carrageenan into some of their ice cream to thicken and preserve the product. In my practice, what I’ve discovered is what a June 2022 Pennsylvania State University study found: That when we consume too much of these fillers, it can create some inflammation in the gut. Often when my clients come to me and we look at what they’ve been eating, these ingredients have been creating bloating. When we cut these out, the bloating will reduce significantly. In my own health, I’ve noticed carrageenan and guar gum tend to bother my stomach when I consume too much of them.

Jacobson offers a solution if you’ve noticed irregular digestion after consuming too much dairy: Check out goat’s milk ice cream. “Some individuals with cow’s milk sensitivity find that goat’s milk is better tolerated; however, in regards to lactose content, they are about equal,” Jacobson says.

14 Foods You Think Are Dairy-Free—But Aren’t

Here’s what happened when I switched to gelato every day

After two days of B&J’s, I switched to my favorite gelato brand: Talenti. If you’ve ever grabbed a pint of Talenti from the supermarket freezer case, then you know: This brand definitely calls to mind the rich Italian gelato formula that inspired this US brand. (In fact, in 2013 CNBC reported that the brand is named after Bernardo Buontalenti, the Italian from Florence who’s been credited with creating gelato during the Renaissance. Buontalenti’s last name translates to “good talents”…as any gelato lover would probably agree.)

At the store, they didn’t have my Talenti Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup flavor in stock, so instead I grabbed the Double Dark Chocolate and added my own peanuts and peanut butter. (Chocolate and peanut butter, my favorite flavor combo! I often add peanut butter to my chocolate bars, and love it with my ice cream, too. I’m well aware that peanut butter adds saturated fat to my treat, which is another reason I don’t usually eat ice cream every day!)

Here are a few observations I made when I started eating gelato for a few days:

  • I felt satisfied after just two to three spoonfuls. I felt like I’d had a yummy treat, but I didn’t feel stuffed.

  • I didn’t have any stomach issues, but that could be thanks to the smaller portion sizes that satisfied my appetite.

  • Since gelato is cream-based and not milk-based, it seemed easier on my stomach and overall digestion.

I Ate Chocolate Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

I tried plant-based ice cream every day

After I finished the pint of gelato, for the final night of this experiment I switched to a “fruit ice cream.” This is something I make at home for my kids when we’re looking for a sweet but healthy treat.

Fruit “ice cream” is super easy to make:

  • I use one peeled frozen banana,
  • a cup or two of frozen fruit (we like strawberries),
  • and then a half-cup of coconut milk.

I blend these three ingredients to a sorbet-like consistency. Since there isn’t any dairy in it, I never experience a stomachache.

If you’re looking to try different types of ice cream to see what is best for your body, Jacobson says it’s worth experimenting with the many delicious ice cream alternatives that are available these days, like coconut, almond, cashew, oat, soy, goat, and even avocado-based ice creams. You could even try a brand like Alec’s Ice Cream made with A2 dairy, which can be easier to digest.

Non-Dairy vs. Dairy-free: How to Know the Difference

Here’s how often should you eat ice cream, says a nutrition expert

I love a little treat after dinner, especially chocolate—but is it advisable to incorporate ice cream into my nightly routine? “Quality dairy can be a healthy part of your diet,” Jacobson says. “It contains a balance of all three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) and is packed with important nutrients like potassium and calcium. And if you’re opting for fermented dairy, you’ll get a boost of probiotics too. However, whether or not dairy should be a part of your diet really depends on your individual tolerance and its impact on digestion. And while there’s definitely room for ice cream in a healthy diet, it’s best as a treat in moderation.”

Jacobson explains that how much ice cream you should have in a day depends on several individualized factors, including overall diet and sugar intake, the type of ice cream and portion size, as well as any particular health conditions. It’s important to discuss your diet with your licensed healthcare professional.

“The good news is that you can still eat ice cream daily and lose weight,” Jacobson says. “The key is to be mindful of the portion size and how that fits into your overall calorie and added sugar intake. And to support blood sugar balance, try enjoying a small portion right after a meal with protein, fat, and fiber instead of on an empty stomach.”

7 Surprisingly Decadent Recipes That Can Help Lower Cholesterol

As we head toward summer, Jacobson shares a few factors to consider if you’re looking to choose a healthier ice cream next time you are at the store. “Choosing the healthiest option can feel overwhelming, but it comes down to your personal health goals,” she says. “For example, are you trying to lose weight? Or are you in the market for a dairy-free option or have other dietary restrictions? Whatever it may be, minimizing added sugars and artificial ingredients is always a good idea, so be sure to look at the food label when choosing.”

Even if I don’t continue to eat ice cream every day, I will always enjoy it as a special treat. My ice-cream-every-day experiment made me excited for summer to arrive so I can try some new options! Goat’s milk ice cream, anyone?

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By now, we know that there is a loneliness epidemic in American life. We also know that loneliness has been exacerbated by social media and recent quarantines during the pandemic. The physical health consequences of poor or insufficient connection include a 29% increased risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults. Loneliness is 20% more deadly than obesity. Additionally, lacking social connection increases the risk of premature death by more than 60%. Some studies suggest that the health toll of loneliness might be as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Quite simply, loneliness can shorten your life.

This week, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new advisory, calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation and lack of connection in our country. Murthy officially gave the label of “epidemic” to loneliness. “Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an under-appreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. said Murthy. “Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight—one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled and more productive lives.”

How should we address the loneliness epidemic?

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC

The advisory outlines “six pillars” to “advance a national strategy to advance social connection.”

“Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders,” said Murthy. Here are the six pillars:

1. Strengthen social infrastructure. The advisory calls for communities to design environments and physical elements that promote connection (such as parks, libraries and playgrounds) and to invest in places that bring people together.

2. Enact pro-connection public policies. The advisory insists that governments play a role in establishing programs like accessible public transportation or paid family leave that can support more connection among a community.

3. Mobilize the health sector. Because loneliness and isolation are risk factors for several major health conditions (including heart disease, dementia and depression), health care providers need to be prepared to treat patients at risk for loneliness.

4. Reform digital environments. The Surgeon General says we must critically re-evaluate our relationship with technology. Policies need to ensure that how we interact digitally does not detract from meaningful and healing connections with others.

5. Deepen our knowledge. This is a call for more robust research on loneliness and its effects on health.

6. Cultivate a culture of connection. This is more intangible, but governments and communities need to understand and influence connections in everyday life.

What are some of the symptoms of loneliness?

Loneliness symptoms include things such as poor sleep, depression and anxiety, as well as issues with your blood pressure. Behaviors such as canceling appointments, not leaving the house or getting dressed in the morning may also signal loneliness. If you believe that loneliness is becoming a problem in your life (or that of a loved one) see a health care provider to discuss your mental health.

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