Healthy Living



Question of the Month

Q. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so expensive this time of year. What can I do to meet my nutrition needs and save money?
A. Eating "seasonally" is the best way to save money on produce. The fall and winter bring an abundance of fruits including apples, pears and oranges, while parsnips, cauliflower and winter squash are readily available all winter. During colder months when locally grown produce is limited, skip the fresh berries and opt for bagged frozen fruits; they're flash-frozen to retain nutrients. Instead of flavorless fresh tomatoes, try no-salt or low-salt canned varieties for soups, sauces and main-dish recipes.

Wash Your Hands to Combat the Flu

Based on a variety of studies, improving your "hand hygiene" makes a difference in both lowering your own risk of contracting viral infections and of spreading them among your family and friends. Both regular soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective in removing the H1N1 virus ("swine" flu) and other viruses from your hands.

Limiting hand-to-face contact also reduces infection risk. Viruses can easily enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. So while you might not be able to avoid the flu this winter, keeping your hands clean and away from your face are both good ways to minimize risk. One related note: The H1N1 virus cannot be transmitted by consuming pork.

Boost Your Weight Loss With Skim Milk

Exchanging your breakfast orange juice for a glass of skim milk might help boost your weight-loss effort. While they both contain about the same number of calories in an 8-ounce glass (around 90), the skim milk is rich in protein, which tends to keep you fuller longer, compared with juice. An Australian study showed that participants who drank skim milk instead of juice for breakfast felt fuller longer and ate less at lunch. Not a skim-milk drinker? For a change, try a slice of low-fat cheese; a small low-sugar, nonfat yogurt; or a Greek yogurt.

In the News:

Since the 1930s, researchers in the social sciences have suspected that behaviors can be "contagious." New data continue to support that "social networks" (your friends) can be a positive or negative influence on your health habits.

Researchers from the renowned Framingham Heart Study, who have examined numerous health markers in a large group of people for decades, have more recently looked at examples of contagious social behavior. Obesity, smoking and drinking appear to be spread socially.

If a Framingham resident was obese, his or her friends were 57 percent more likely to become obese too. Similarly, if a nonsmoking resident had a smoking friend, the risk of starting up increased 36 percent.

Happiness is another factor that seemed to be connected among friends. While changing behaviors doesn't mean changing friends, it does mean that your social group is a good place to start when you're trying to change your own actions.


If you have a health question for Dr. Fernstrom, e-mail her at fernstrom@wqed.org.

 
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.

 



 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

You'll have to work hard to make it through the 'Burgh Bucket List — but every entry is more than worth the effort.
Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won over Troy Polamalu

Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won over Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu came to Pittsburgh craving the California sun. Nearly a dozen years later, he shares a rare glimpse of the relationships he developed here — with his God, the Steelers Nation and the city he and his family now call home. One thing is certain: he never wants to leave.
Granting the Perfect Wish

Granting the Perfect Wish

By fulfilling the wish of a 12-year-old boy, PittGirl learns that you don't always need a lot of money to grant the perfect wish.
Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Try an updated take on traditional trends with these winter must-haves for men.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

The city hopes that offering free parking to shoppers on some of the busiest commercial days of the year will give small businesses a lift.
Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

The bridge was covered in more than 3,000 feet of colorful, hand-knit blankets in honor of the late pop artist’s 85th birthday.
Pittsburgh Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Pittsburgh Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Chris Jamison, 20, of Ross Township, is a 2012 graduate of North Hills High School.
This Weekend: Renovated 1871 Mansion Highlights Shadyside House Tour

This Weekend: Renovated 1871 Mansion Highlights Shadyside House Tour

The three-story mansion, valued by Allegheny County at $1.57 million, was last open to the public in 2003.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

You'll have to work hard to make it through the 'Burgh Bucket List — but every entry is more than worth the effort.
Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won over Troy Polamalu

Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won over Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu came to Pittsburgh craving the California sun. Nearly a dozen years later, he shares a rare glimpse of the relationships he developed here — with his God, the Steelers Nation and the city he and his family now call home. One thing is certain: he never wants to leave.
Granting the Perfect Wish

Granting the Perfect Wish

By fulfilling the wish of a 12-year-old boy, PittGirl learns that you don't always need a lot of money to grant the perfect wish.
Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Try an updated take on traditional trends with these winter must-haves for men.
Review: Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

Review: Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

Farm-to-table restaurant Eighty Acres brings food prepared with finesse to Plum.
Pittsburgh's Top 10: November 2014

Pittsburgh's Top 10: November 2014

Here are the 10 best things to do in Pittsburgh this month.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags