While it is hard not to love the slower pace and casual lifestyle of summer, excessive heat can take a toll on our health and wellbeing. Thankfully, there are foods that are not only beneficial for the body’s inside but are actually good for keeping it healthy on the surface as well. Many such foods have an incredible ability to help protect the skin from UV damage and delay signs of aging.
One of the many myths about health issues today stands out for its sheer audacity, and that is the myth that the obesity epidemic itself is a myth. The argument is propagated in particular by University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, whose book, entitled “The Obesity Myth,” garnered considerable attention when first published and has a following to this day. I’ve never considered it my vocation, but I do find that, as a defender of epidemiological fact, I am obligated to confront a lot of nonsense, folklore, and myth. Epidemic obesity, alas, is no myth, and here is why.
A funny thing has happened in the United States over the last few decades. Men’s average testosterone levels have been dropping by at least one percent a year. Testosterone appears to decline naturally with aging, but internal belly fat depresses the hormone further, especially in obese men. Drugs like steroids and opiates also lower testosterone, and it’s suspected that chemicals like bisphenol A, or BPA, commonly found in plastic food containers, and diseases like Type 2 diabetes play a role as well.
Did you see the news about our nation’s war on cheese? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will ban the sale of cheeses aged on wooden boards. That would include many of the cheeses imported to the United States as well as artisanal cheese made here. Now the agency is backing away from that rule, but I think this is an important moment to think about where our priorities lie. I suggest the FDA should ban products, not food!
Have you ever thought about your bone health? Many people don’t until they learn for the first time that their bones are thinning, known as osteopenia, a condition that precedes osteoporosis. The latter is a serious disease and treating it comes with huge healthcare costs and potential morbidity. Prevention includes evaluating diet, lifestyle, and any supplements to improve bone health. Following is a list of key nutrients for strong bones.
The poor dietary habits of today’s children are contributing to their obesity, chronic illness, and ill health. They are also laying a foundation for poor academic performance, chronic disease later in life, violent behavior, and premature death. But children are not making these choices on their own; children’s dietary habits are ingrained by their parents.
June is Men’s Health Month, the purpose of which is to increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men. Amazingly, women seek preventive health care twice as often as men do.