Healthy Living

What's new in health, diet and nutrition.



Q. I want better muscle tone but am afraid that I’ll get big and bulky if I lift heavy weights. Is this true?

A. While many people think that lifting heavy weight bulks you up and that the best way to tone is with lighter weights and more repetitions, this is not supported by scientific evidence. Bulky muscles don’t come from weights alone but from extra calorie consumption as well.

As studies show, in order to lose weight and improve muscle tone, lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions really helps to burn more energy, and it even provides a temporary metabolic boost after exercise. Always make sure that your doctor clears you for strength training, and seek out instruction and supervision from a certified trainer or exercise physiologist to avoid injury. Combine this with aerobic activity for optimal heart health.

While you might prefer one or the other type of exercise (most people do), it’s important to do both for health promotion. One is not “better” than the other, just different.


Summer Hydration
Enjoying the outdoor beauty of our summers in the Pittsburgh area is a major advantage of living in this region. But rising temperatures and humidity require extra fluid intake—more than many of us typically consume.

The recommendation is easy—when you’re thirsty, drink. While water is the go-to liquid, stick with low- and non-calorie beverages to avoid weight creep. And remember: “Clear” doesn’t mean low-calorie. Read the labels of your liquid-calorie choices!


Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth
Your oral health is a direct reflection of your general health, and foods can have both a positive and negative impact on your dental health.

The best foods stimulate saliva production, which washes away the debris sticking to your teeth that promotes decay. Choose raw vegetables and fruits—such as apples, carrots and celery—that act as mini-toothbrushes as you crunch away.

For strong tooth structure, keep up your calcium intake by consuming low- and nonfat dairy products.

The worst foods? Sticky, sugary foods including sucking candy, lollipops and dried fruit are particular culprits. Sugary drinks, from sodas to sweet teas, all contribute to bacterial plaque growth that promotes decay.

Some foods can stain your teeth—including red wine, coffee, tea and berries. Try using a straw to minimize contact.

A good remedy when you consume a sugary or high-stain food is to rinse well with water to clean your teeth. Sugarless gum also is a saliva-booster. Brush and floss twice a day, and follow up with your dentist at least once a year.


In the News

“Popchips” Come to Pittsburgh
Salt and crunch create an unbeatable edible combination for many people—often in the form of a chip. But it’s a real challenge to find a brand that keeps salt, fat and calories controlled as part of a healthy diet.

Enter the Popchip, which is a potato that is neither baked nor fried but popped, as in popcorn or rice cake.

The popchip comes closest in taste and texture to potato chips. With only 3 grams of fat and 240 milligrams of salt in a 100-calorie single-serve bag—that’s 17 chips—it’s a smart snack when you’re looking for a small indulgence. This snack is available in a variety of flavors— barbecue, salt and pepper, cheddar cheese and sour cream and onion.

Recently the chips have become available in the Pittsburgh area at local Target stores. Not near a Target? You can order the 100-calorie bags from Amazon.com.

Dr. Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., C.N.S., is the founder and director of UPMC’s Weight Management Center. She is the diet and nutrition editor for NBC’s “Today Show” and is the author of The Runner’s Diet. Also, visit “Health Journal with Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom,” a health and wellness blog at iVillage.com.


 Top Docs Q+A

We asked Dr. James Wilberger, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital:

Q: I spend hours each day working at a desk. What can I do during and after the workday to relieve tension in my back, shoulders and neck?

A: Tension in the back, shoulders and neck may be caused by maintaining one body position for long periods of time. It is important to change positions at regular intervals by simply standing or sitting for one to two minutes or by taking a short walk around the office.

Make sure your computer monitor is at eye level and the keyboard is in a comfortable working position to avoid undue stress on the neck and shoulders. Sit in a chair with good back support to avoid excess stress on the lower back.

Some specific movements or postures, many of which are based on yoga principles, may help release tension. One is simply shrugging the shoulders 15 to 20 times in two or three intervals each day.

For the neck, alternate rotations from right to left and flex chin to chest for five seconds, 10 to 12 times several times a day.

For the lower back, similar side-to-side and forward bending motions reduce muscle tightness and tension.

It is important to maintain a reasonable level of physical activity for back and neck health. Aerobic activities—brisk walking, jogging, bicycling or exercising on a treadmill or an elliptical—are the best ways to maintain overall health and well-being. Specifically for the back, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and to pay attention to the mechanics of lifting.

Most tension-related spine problems are short-lasting and can be relieved using the techniques previously described or by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. If significant discomfort persists or there are symptoms affecting an arm or leg, seek medical attention.

For more on Pittsburgh’s Top Doctors, visit pittsburghmagazine.com/Top Doctors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

This rare video gives you a passenger's perspective of street car trolley travel in the 1960s.
Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

In a pair of TV ads, watch the Steelers' running back tackle styling the hair of his two adorable daughters.
Greenlight for Girls Encourages Hands-On STEM Learning

Greenlight for Girls Encourages Hands-On STEM Learning

The international organization partnered with local materials science company Covestro to encourage scientific curiosity for girls.
Heinz Releases a ‘Wiener Stampede’ on The Super Bowl

Heinz Releases a ‘Wiener Stampede’ on The Super Bowl

Dozens of dachshunds wearing hot dog costumes star in what may be the cutest commercial this year.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

This third Renaissance has allowed us to be spectators as Pittsburgh changed from a city suffering the damages wrought by the collapse of its steel industry to a vibrant, active place known for its academic, medical and technology sectors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

This rare video gives you a passenger's perspective of street car trolley travel in the 1960s.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

The Strip District distillers will launch a hard cider business this fall.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

The LGBTQ-friendly variety show offers one of the city's most unusual (and often unforgettable) lineups of comedic talent.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
It's Simple This Time, Super Bowl 50 Won't Even be Close

It's Simple This Time, Super Bowl 50 Won't Even be Close

The Panthers are going to get to the Broncos eventually. When that happens, Peyton Manning is going to be forced to throw it. And once that happens, it’s going to get ugly.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Delicate Pieces for the Harsh Winter

Delicate Pieces for the Harsh Winter

Lighten up your look with a cheerful necklace.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

Our reviews of "Hail, Caesar!," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The Choice."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Sugar and Spice: Cookie Table Contest Winners

Sugar and Spice: Cookie Table Contest Winners

Pittsburgh has it all: a beautiful skyline, breathtaking bridges and the most gorgeous cookie tables we’ve ever seen.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Check out the new pillow collection from local interior designer Zach Mitchell. Plus, get the scoop on The Pittsburgh Christmas Carol Tour.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments