Punch Off the Pounds

Get rid of the weight quickly with this go-to exercise.

From Health magazine

For arms and chest

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bring fists to cheekbone level, with elbows in toward chest. Punch right arm forward, thumb facing up; as right arm comes back, punch with left arm. That’s 1 rep. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat 3-5 times.

Trainer tip: To really get your heart pumping, punch for 1 minute, then rest for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.

Next: Front kick

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FDA Considering Statin Use for Those With Normal Cholesterol

MONDAY, Dec. 19, 2009 (Health.com) — Should people who dont have high cholesterol take a cholesterol-lowering statin? Maybe, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is considering an advisory panels recent recommendation to do just that.

If the FDA adopts the panel’s recommendation—the agency isn’t required to do so, but typically does in such cases—it would mark the first time that a statin was approved for heart-disease-free people with healthy cholesterol levels but other risk factors, including high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.

It would also mean that roughly 6 million new patients would be eligible to take a statin—in this case, Crestor (rosuvastatin).

The recommendation “changes medical practice dramatically [and] will work its way into the guidelines,” says Steven E. Nissen, MD, the chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

Cardiologists are divided over the expanded use of the drug. Some say it will help fight heart disease; others are concerned about the data used by the panel and the potential side effects of statins. Adding to the debate is a new study, published this week in The Lancet, that calls into question the strength of the connection between CRP and heart disease.

The panel’s decision was based almost entirely on the Jupiter trial, a study funded by Crestors maker, AstraZeneca, that compared a daily dose of Crestor to placebo in nearly 18,000 people who fit the description used by the panel (and who would not be eligible for a statin under the current guidelines).

“There was a 44% reduction in death, heart attack, and stroke among people taking Crestor,” says Dr. Nissen. “The benefit was very large and happened very quickly.”

“I dont think the new labeling recommendation is really controversial,” he adds. “The decision was very straightforward and among the people who treat lipids, this is a no-brainer.”

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Fresh Summer Produce

Summer brings a wealth of deliciously ripe produce. Consider taking advantage of seasonal foods by visiting a . Here are a dozen of the freshest seasonal fruits and veggies, plus delicious ways to serve them.

Berries

As temperatures heat up, all berries get fat and juicy. Enjoy them on their own or on top of salads, desserts, and cereal. Health benefits include:

• Low in calories

• Rich in antioxidants, which neutralize cell damage

• May reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease

• May reduce risk of colon or ovarian cancer

Harvest season: May-September

Try this recipe: Blueberry and Blackberry Shortcakes

Next: Peaches

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Punch Off the Pounds

Get rid of the weight quickly with this go-to exercise.

From Health magazine

For arms and chest

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bring fists to cheekbone level, with elbows in toward chest. Punch right arm forward, thumb facing up; as right arm comes back, punch with left arm. That’s 1 rep. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat 3-5 times.

Trainer tip: To really get your heart pumping, punch for 1 minute, then rest for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.

Next: Front kick

» View All

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Is Your Fertility Window Closing?

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Women in their 30s and early 40s have new options for gauging whether theyre still fertile: Doctors-office and at-home tests supposedly can estimate the number of viable eggs in their ovaries. There is a booming market for this kind of ovarian-reserve testing. In the United Kingdom, a private company associated with the University of Sheffield is even selling a mail-in blood test (its not yet available in the United States).

How they work: The U.K. test and also some U.S. fertility-clinic tests measure levels of Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and other substances called inhibin B and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are present when egg-producing follicles are growing. Higher hormone levels suggest more fertility. Another test uses ultrasound to count the follicles with devel­oping eggs. And the most common test measures FSH along with one form of estrogen. These tests, individually or in combination, may be able to tell if your ovaries are functioning normally.

Experts say: All this science has some flaws. Knowing that your ovaries are still working isnt the same as knowing how many viable eggs you have—or predicting the future. Even positive results dont mean you can count on a big window. At the same time, negative results dont mean youre out of luck.

“These tests cant tell you the prognosis a year from now,” says Marcelle Cedars, MD, director of the reproductive endocrinology division at the University of California, San Francisco. “Id hate to see people make important life decisions based on the results.”

Bottom line: Ultimately, age is still the most important factor when it comes to fertility prediction, says Mark Perloe, MD, medical director of Georgia Reproductive Specialists in Atlanta. If youre in your early 40s, the odds are against getting pregnant without help, no matter what the tests say. The odds are much better in your late 30s or younger. In short, the tests may be encouraging or discouraging, but they cannot accurately determine how much time youve got left for motherhood.

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20 Snacks That Burn Fat

What you eat between meals matters more than you think. These choices boost metabolism and help you lose weight fast.

apples-burn-fat

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by Amanda MacMillan

Americans love to snack almost as much as we

want to lose weight. But according to recent research by the USDA, our

snacking habits are adding too many calories and too few nutrients to

our diets. It doesn’t have to be this way, says Susan Bowerman, RD,

assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. “When done

right, (snacking) keeps your energy levels up and gives

you more opportunities to get in all your nutritional needs.”

Next: What snacks burn fat?

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10 Foods You’re Probably Eating Wrong

Just when you thought you were hitting it out of the park with your attempts to eat right, it turns out a handful of seemingly innocent habits could be sabotaging your efforts.

wrong food opener

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by Sarah Bruning

Even if you eat plenty of fruits and veggies and already know about the latest and greatest superfoods on the market, that’s only half the battle. The other half: understanding how to reap the biggest benefits from all that hard work. We asked a pair of registered dietitians to pinpoint the big mistakes that are preventing you from extracting the most vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.

Next: Flaxseeds

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5 Steps to the Perfect Stir-Fry (Plus Recipes!)

Here’s how to cook up a fresh, flavor-packed dinner in just 15 minutes

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Credit: Romulo Yanes

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15 Best Dog Breeds for Active People

Look to these non-stop canine companions for workout motivation and, of course, a little bit of love.

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by Rachel Swalin

Man’s best friend makes a loving and loyal pet–and an awesome fitness partner. With all the walking, chasing, and playing you do together, keeping up with your dog can be an exercise in and of itself. Case in point: dog owners walk more than those without a pooch, averaging four walks a week for 160 minutes of physical activity, according to a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity Health. You’ll boost your fitness by owning any dog, but breeds with extra stamina and agility will really keep you moving. Whether you like to run, swim, hike, or play games in your yard, these ultra-active breeds will help you stay in shape.

Next: Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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6 Questions Every Woman Has About Her Breasts

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Perky or pendulous, AA or DDD–our boobs come in a seemingly infinite variety of shapes and sizes. Each pair is beautifully unique, of course. And yet many of us wonder about the exact same things: “Why do my breasts sometimes hurt?” “Why can’t I find a bra that fits?” “Should I be concerned about this lump?” Worry not: We’ve got answers to your most pressing breast-related FAQs–so you can give your girls all the support they need.

FAQ No. 1: What should I eat to keep my girls healthy?

Suzanne Dixon, RD, an epidemiologist and dietitian in Portland, Ore., advises eating a wide variety of plant-based foods, including these:

Nuts: “All varieties are rich in phytosterols, which have been shown in lab and animal studies to inhibit tumor development,” Dixon says. And some types (including walnuts and pecans) contain fatty acids that may help reduce PMS-related soreness.

Cruciferous vegetables: Cabbage, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts are all chock-full of glucosinolates; these chemicals break down into compounds that appear to inhibit the development of cancer cells.

Mushrooms: Women who ate 10 or more grams of fresh fungi a day (about the size of a single white mushroom) had a 64 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, according to a 2009 Chinese study.

Legumes: Beans and lentils are also loaded with phytosterols. A Harvard University study showed that women who ate legumes at least twice a week had a 24 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate them less than once a month.

Related: Which Stress-Busting Gadgets Really Work?

FAQ No. 2: Help! Why are my breasts heading south?

Here are a few myths and facts about what causes your dynamic duo to droop.

You’re getting older

TRUE. The ligaments that help give breasts their shape are made of collagen and elastin, which break down as you age.

You don’t always wear a bra

FALSE. “A bra will hold up your breasts temporarily, but it can’t prevent sagging,” says Dan Mills, MD, vice president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Exception: a sports bra. Bouncing during workouts can make connective tissue deteriorate over time.

You liked tanning

TRUE. Ultraviolet rays break down collagen, Dr. Mills says. More reason to slather on SPF!

FAQ No. 3: Should I get an ultrasound, too?

If you have dense breasts, it’s harder for a radiologist to spot signs of cancer on your mammogram. But a study published in February estimated that performing supplemental screening ultrasound on 10,000 women with dense breasts and negative mammos would prevent only about four deaths and would require about 3,500 unneeded biopsies. A potential alternative: tomosynthesis, an advanced type of digital mammogram that’s becoming increasingly available. It generally improves detection rates and decreases false positives, says Barbara Monsees, MD, spokesperson for the American College of Radiology.

Related: Stuff That Probably Won’t Give You Breast Cancer

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