Don’t let coronavirus fears take your focus off staying healthy
During the 2019 Golden Globes ceremony, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh surprised the crowd by bringing out actors dressed as medical personnel to deliver free flu shots to celebrities. Oh told the crowd “You know you wore a sleeveless gown for a reason!”
Samberg added, “If you are an anti-vaxxer, just put a napkin on (or perhaps over) your head and we will skip you.”
We certainly hope that in the next year or so they’ll be able to advocate for the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine! But until then, it’s essential that you keep your respiratory and immune systems as healthy as possible (the coronavirus attacks the lungs).
Making sure you get enough sleep, taking a daily a multivitamin, getting moderate physical activity and eating a vegan diet are ways to bolster your immune system so you can fight back against this coronavirus. A flu vaccine is also a smart step. You don’t want double trouble! During the 2018-2019 flu season, the flu vaccine was estimated to have prevented some 4.4 million illnesses. Plus, research indicates the vaccine makes the flu less severe if you do catch it.
So, if you’re worried about the COVID-19 (57 percent of Americans say they are afraid it will hurt the economy; 47 percent are afraid they or someone in their family will get the virus), do something about upgrading your lifestyle choices, and get a flu vaccine. You’ll reduce your 10-year rate of death more than getting COVID-19 will increase it.
If you’re a caregiver, remember, your health matters too
When the late model and restaurateur B. Smith was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, her husband, Dan Gasby, was determined to take care of his wife come what may. However, several years later he created a stir when he went public with the info that he was in a romantic relationship with another woman while still Smith’s caregiver.
Regardless of your opinion about his choices, they’re a reminder that the needs of nonprofessional caregivers are often forgotten. Nearly 35 million people in the U.S. provide unpaid assistance to an ailing or disabled family member or friend, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. While their role can be enormously beneficial to the “patient,” it can take a toll on caregivers’ physical and emotional health. In fact, overall 8 percent to 30 percent of caregivers die before the person they’re caring for — and it’s 40 percent for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
It’s important to recognize if you have signs of caregiver burnout, such as sleep problems, weight loss, depression and even suicidal thoughts. To ease your burden:
■ Adopt one or more stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, physical exercise, seeing friends, pursuing a hobby — even getting a pet.
■ Eat well. Fill your fridge with healthful meals you cook ahead of time (no ultraprocessed and sugar-added foods).
■ Ask for help. Rely on friends and reputable caregiver services to give you a break every week. Contacts: Family Caregiver Alliance, 800-445-8106; Caregiver Action Network, 855-277-3640; Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, 229-928-1234; Well Spouse Association, 732-577-8899.
Fries plus low-cal sweeteners: not a splendid idea
Oddly, French fries figure as major plot points in old movies: There’s the scene in 1986’s “Cobra” when Stallone tells a ketchup-crazed girl her fries are drowning; the french fries food fight in a moving car in “The Getaway” (1994); and the scene about freeway french fry agony and ecstasy in “Freaky Friday” (2003) when a nutrition-conscious mom in the body of her teenage daughter gets to enjoy a fry for the first time in eight years!
The Americans’ favorite of all vegetables may seem lighthearted on the silver screen, but they’re definitely heavy-hearted when they show up on your plate (or in a paper bag). One eight-year study even found that folks who ate fried potatoes two or more times a week doubled their risk of early death.
But that’s not all the harm that french fries, as well as hash browns and home fries, can do. According to a new study in Cell Metabolism, combining french fries and other processed carbs with a low-cal beverage that contains the equivalent of two packages of Splenda creates a chemical mix that ends up reducing your body’s ability to metabolize sugar and alters your brain’s response to sugar. That, suggests researchers from Yale’s Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center, can lead to weight gain, glucose intolerance and diabetes.
Their bottom line: An occasional diet drink doesn’t mess up your metabolism of sugar or trigger weight gain (and may help you reduce calorie intake) if you NEVER drink it along with fries or other carbohydrates.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.