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Is that really healthy?

March 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Protecting yourself from a cold and flu at work is always a great idea, but is antibacterial gel the best defense?That's just one of a handful of trendy questions concerning diet, exercise and overall health. Take a look at some popular misconceptions.

Some feel that exercising first thing in the morning without eating a thing will utilize more body fat. Not true. The truth is, a small snack before that sweat session jump-starts metabolism while providing a bit of fuel to work out harder and longer. A piece of toast, fruit, or yogurt are all good ideas. While it isn't necessary or even a good idea to eat a big breakfast prior to a workout, a bit of carbohydrate works best for that a.m. wake-up call.

How about drinking red wine instead of white for good health? Cardiologists say a small amount of any type of alcohol elevates estrogen levels, which in turn increases HDL, or "good" cholesterol production in the liver.

While red wine does contain plant chemicals that lower bad cholesterol, heart health benefits also come from a glass of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor. It is important to note that in this scenario, more is not better in terms of health benefits.

What about eating sushi several times a week? The American Heart Association recommends eating fish two to three times per week for heart health. However, the main concern is about consuming fish with high mercury content, such as shark, halibut, swordfish and Ahi tuna. Currently the Environmental Defense Fund suggests two pieces of this type of fish per week for those weighing 150 pounds, to reduce risk of methyl mercury poisoning. So vary that spicy tuna roll with wild salmon, crab, squid and mackerel, to name a few. There are lots of choices out there and variety makes for getting the best in nutrients.

Then there's those switching to gluten-free food because they think they're intolerant. As it turns out, there are approximately 12 percent truly sensitive to gluten. While a variety of grains provide a nice mix of nutrients, a blood test at the doctor will tell you for sure. Some people try eliminating gluten-free foods from their diet for two weeks, but there are foods that contain wheat ingredients wearing an "alias," so that method isn't always the best or the easiest.

Finally, concerning sanitizing gel, the experts say it's a good choice when in a pinch. But if there's a sink nearby, nothing beats scrubbing up with hot soapy water to get rid of bad bugs.

 

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