Health Watch

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

BRENDA ADDERLY / L’Observateur / December 8, 1999

If you think the announcement from the National Institutes of Health that most people only gain one pound over the holidays – not the 5 to 7 most people assumed – is good news, it’s time for a reality check. Researchersat NIH also pointed out that the one-pound weight gain usually isn’t lost during the following year. Fast forward, and five years from now, you’reshopping for larger size clothes.

The really good news is that you can avoid gaining that insidious little pound during the holiday season, without serious sacrifices. For example,a new study from the New York Obesity Research Center found that eating a hearty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast helps curb lunch appetite because the high fiber content makes us feel less hungry later in the day. Addinglow-fat milk to your oatmeal is another hunger buster, say researchers at the University of Tennessee. They found that a diet high in low-fat dairyfoods slows down fat production. And you can increase calorie burning bymaking green tea your beverage of choice. According to a new study in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition, calories burned each day was higher in the group of participants who had two capsules of green tea and caffeine extracts at each meal than for those who had only caffeine or a placebo.

Last, but not least, remember that many studies have shown that the most successful dieters are the ones who cut back on calories – not just fat – and increase physical activities. Focus on having more fun and less foodthis season. I’ve found that fresh soups with plenty of vegetables, low-fatcheeses, cold cuts and crackers, fruit, salads and popcorn are as tasty as heavier, “traditional” fare, and much healthier for family and guests alike.

They’re also easier to prepare, leaving you more time to enjoy the season.

B Happy If you’re like me, I’m sure you know plenty of women who will be happy to hear that taming the PMS monster may require nothing more than vitamin B6.

Recent studies show that vitamin B6 helps relieve symptoms of PMS and is especially beneficial in reducing water retention, outbreaks of acne and menstrual pain.

If you are an active woman, you may need more B6 than non-exercisers.

Unfortunately, this vitamin quickly vanishes in cooking, refining and processing, and is not added to “enriched” foods. Wheat germ, peanuts, eggyolks and whole grains are prime food sources of this essential nutrient, but you may want to consider supplements.

Now Hear This “Here we will sit,” wrote Shakespeare, “and let the sounds of music creep in our ears.” That, as a recent study shows, is quite an effective means ofpain relief. At Case Western Reserve University, surgery patients wholistened to music were able to reduce their need for pain medication.

After waking from surgery, patients chose from five different styles of soothing sounds – piano, harp, orchestral, synthesizer or smooth jazz.

Although pain-killing drugs were used, doses were gradually lowered to less than normal levels. Further research may reveal the importance ofmusic in curtailing chronic pain. In the meantime, this is news you can putto work right away without worrying about side effects.

(Brenda Adderly is the author of 13 books about health. If you havequestions, visit Brenda at

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