6 New Tips for Healthy Eating

How certain foods can help fight fat, cancer and hardened arteries

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The Weight-Loss Strategy that Backfires

Every dieter has heard the advice to tape a picture of a slim model on the fridge to boost motivation. But choosing a picture of a too-thin model may sabotage your dieting efforts, according to a pair of Dutch studies. Subjects who received food diaries with a cover image of either a normal-weight model or a fork and measuring tape trimmed down a bit over a week, while women using diaries showing a -super-skinny model ate more unhealthy snacks and failed to lose weight. “Using skinny women as role models makes dieters feel like their goals are unattainable,” explains lead study author Anne-Kathrin Klesse, PhD. “And then they may feel it’s worthless even to try to avoid unhealthy snack foods. Photo courtesy of Evlakhov Valeriy/Shutterstock.com

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40%

That’s how much people in an Ohio study lowered their levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (a cause of artery hardening) by eating an apple a day for four weeks.

 

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True or False? Eating Soy Prevents Hot Flashes

False. Soy is packed with phytoestrogens, which are chemically similar to estrogen and thus might protect against symptoms caused by declining levels of the hormone in midlife. But a menopause study found that following a soy-rich diet (filled with, say, tofu and edamame) does not help premenopausal and early menopausal women dodge hot flashes and night sweats.

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Protect Your Peepers . . .

. . . with omega-3 fatty acids. Typically, as we age, a toxic mixture called lipofuscin accumulates in the retina; it’s a major cause of macular degeneration and vision loss. But a University of Alberta study, published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, found that lab mice fed DHA supplements got no toxic buildup. The researcher believes that increasing your omega-3 levels with foods or supplements (200 milligrams of DHA or 400 milligrams of EPA three times a day) that are already known to be helpful for the heart, brain and immune system could benefit the eyes, too. 

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If You Have Arthritis in Your Knees . . .

. . . lay off the sugary sodas, suggests a study done by researchers at Harvard, Tufts and Brown universities. People with knee arthritis who drank more than five sugary sodas (but not diet drinks) a week saw their condition worsen over the study’s four years. Just how soft drinks affect knee arthritis isn’t fully understood, but lead study investigator Bing Lu, MD, PhD, of Harvard suspects that either the weight gain that comes from drinking excess soft drinks puts pressure on knee joints or the beverages simply crowd out other nutrients essential for joint health. 

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Enjoy Your Java

Coffee is a rich source of the cancer-fighting compounds cafestol and kahweol. In an American Cancer Society study of almost one million people, those who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee daily (about the amount in one travel mug) had nearly half the risk of dying from mouth and throat cancers compared with those who drank no coffee—even if they also smoked or imbibed alcohol, the biggest risk factors for these cancers.

 

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Next: 11 Foods that Age-Proof Your Brain

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First published in the October 2013 issue

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