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.

 



 

Hot Reads

Made in Pittsburgh

Made in Pittsburgh

The city of steel always has been known for its industry – what we make. Today, that defining characteristic expands beyond manufacturing into every aspect of modern life.
Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

While he can walk largely unrecognized in his hometown, comic-book artist Ed Piskor of Munhall continues to win critical acclaim and international fame with “Hip Hop Family Tree,” a series of graphic novels telling the story of hip-hop music.
Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.

The 412

The Future of Local Transportation Starts Now

The Future of Local Transportation Starts Now

New bike lanes downtown mark the beginning of the Peduto administration's ambitious transportation plans.
Bryant McFadden Wants to Talk to You

Bryant McFadden Wants to Talk to You

The former Steelers cornerback joins the 120 Sports team to keep you up to speed on all things sporting.
Celebrate Our 'Up-and-Coming Nightlife City' Status With Pittsburgh Cocktail Week

Celebrate Our 'Up-and-Coming Nightlife City' Status With Pittsburgh Cocktail Week

Raise a glass to another 'Burgh superlative at these awesome cocktail parties.
Pittsburgh is One of the Most Cycling-Friendly U.S. Cities

Pittsburgh is One of the Most Cycling-Friendly U.S. Cities

Bicycling mag ranks the Steel City at No. 21 on its list of 50 metropolises.

Hot Reads

Made in Pittsburgh

Made in Pittsburgh

The city of steel always has been known for its industry – what we make. Today, that defining characteristic expands beyond manufacturing into every aspect of modern life.
Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

While he can walk largely unrecognized in his hometown, comic-book artist Ed Piskor of Munhall continues to win critical acclaim and international fame with “Hip Hop Family Tree,” a series of graphic novels telling the story of hip-hop music.
Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.
8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

Hoping to take a leaf-peeping road trip? Keep food at the top of your priority list and consult our lineup of eight destinations, most within 150 miles of the city.