20 Questions 20 Answers

The Definitive Answer To 20 Of Your Biggest Health Questions
Does olive oil prevent heart disease?
Short  answer: Yes
The health benefits of olive oil come from the presence of  polyphenols, antioxidants that reduce  the risk of heart diseases<http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/215S.full> and cancers.
But to get these healthy compounds, consumers should buy  good-quality, fresh “extra-virgin” olive oil, which has the highest  polyphenol content. Most commercially available olive oils have low levels  of polyphenols <http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-pick-the-healthiest-olive-oil-2013-7> associated with poor harvesting methods, improper storage, and heavy  processing.
Do  cough syrups work?
Short  answer: No
In 2006, the nation’s  chest physicians agreed<http://www.nbcnews.com/id/10777506/ns/health-cold_and_flu/t/doctors-discourage-use-cough-medicine/#.UgqsK2T70Wc> that the majority of over-the-counter cough medicines don’t actually work.  These  colorful syrups typically contain doses of codeine and dextromethorphan  that are too small to be effective.
Only cough suppressants that  contain older antihistamines seem to relieve coughs. That  includes brompheniramine, an active ingredient in Dimetapp. .
Do  sugary soft drinks lead to diabetes?
Short  answer: Yes
The majority of health research is stacked  against sugar-sweetened soda <http://www.businessinsider.com/why-soda-is-bad-for-you-2013-5> .  A large 2004  study <http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=199317> in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who  drank one or more sugary drinks per day increased their risk of developing  type 2 diabetes by 83% compared to those who consumed less than one of  these beverages per month.
Do  I need sunscreen with more than 30 SPF?
Short  answer:  No
Sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 block about  97% of ultraviolet rays, while  sunscreens with an SPF of higher than 30 block 97%-98%.
It’s more  important that you choose “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, meaning it protects  against both UVB and UVA rays.  Sunbathers also  need to apply a generous amount of  sunscreen <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07684.x/abstract%3bjsessionid=5863DBDE73CFD6CC3689B914B9F2B7AB.d04t01> in order to get the full benefit of the SPF.
Is  the MSG in Chinese likely to give you a headache?
Short  answer: No
A review of 40 years of clinical trials, published in the journal of  the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in 2006<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-7599.2006.00160.x/abstract> ,  found  that all previous research “failed to identify a consistent relationship  between the consumption of MSG and  the constellation of symptoms that comprise the syndrome,” including  headaches and asthma attacks.
The misconception spawned from several  poorly-done small studies in the 1960s that 
seemed to  connect<http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM196804042781419> MSG with a variety of maladies that people experienced after eating at  Chinese restaurants.
Learn more about the MSG myth  here » <http://www.businessinsider.com/msg-allergy-doesnt-exist-2013-8>
Do  nuts make you fat?
Short  answer: No
As much as 75% of a nut is fat. But eating fat doesn’t necessarily  make you fat. The  bigger factor leading to weight gain is portion-size. Luckily,  nuts are loaded with healthy fats that keep you full. They’re also a good  source of protein and fiber.
One study even found that whole  almonds have 20% less calories <http://www.businessinsider.com/calorie-counts-arent-accurate-2013-7>than previously thought because a  lot of the fat is excreted from the body.
Is  walking as effective as running?
Short  answer: Yes
Studies have shown that how long you exercise — and thus how many  calories you burn — is more important than  how hard you exercise. Running is a more efficient form of exercise, but  not necessarily better for you.
A six-year study<http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/04/04/ATVBAHA.112.300878.abstract>published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular  Biology in April found that walking at a moderate pace and running  produced similar health benefits, so long as the same amount of energy was  expended.
Is  drinking fruit juice as good for you as eating fruit?
Short  answer: No
Calorie for calorie, whole fruit provides more nutritional benefits  than drinking the pure juice of that fruit. That’s  because when you liquefy fruit, stripping away the peel and dumping the  pulp, many ingredients like fiber,  calcium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants are lost.
For comparison, a  five-ounce glass of orange juice that contains 69 calories has .3 grams of  dietary fiber and 16 milligrams of calcium, whereas an orange with the  same number of calories packs 3.1 grams of fiber and 60 milligrams of  calcium.
Are  all wheat breads better for you than white bread?
Short  answer: No
Not all wheat breads are created equal. Wheat breads that contain  all parts of the grain kernel, including  the nutrient-rich germ and fiber-dense bran, must be labeled “whole grain”  or “whole wheat.”
Some wheat breads are just white bread with a little  bit of caramel coloring to make the bread appear healthier, according  to Reader’s Digest.
Can  a hot tub make me sick?
Short  answer: Yes
Hot tubs — especially ones in spas, hotels, and gyms — are perfect  breeding grounds for germs.
The water is not hot enough to kill  bacteria, but is just the right temperature to make microbes grow even  faster. Even  though hot tubs are treated with chlorine, the heat causes the  disinfectant to break down faster than  it would in regular pools.
The most common hot tub infection is  pseudomonas folliculitis, which causes red, itchy bumps. A  more dangerous side-effect of soaking in a dirty Jacuzzi is a form of  pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease. This  is what reportedly  sickened<http://abcnews.go.com/Health/legionnaires-outbreak-traced-back-playboy-mansion/story?id=12924405> more than 100 people at the Playboy Mansion back in 2011.
Does  coffee cause cancer?
Short  answer: No
Coffee got a bad rap in the 1980s when a study linked  drinking coffee to pancreatic cancer <http://www.nytimes.com/1981/03/12/us/study-links-coffee-use-to-pancreas-cancer.html> .  The  preliminary report waslater  debunked <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3063915/> .
More recently, health studies have swung in favor of the caffeinated  beverage. Coffee  has been linked to a lower risk of
type 2  diabetes <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20008687> ,Parkinson’s  disease <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17522612> ,  liver cancer, and even suicide.
Do  eggs raise cholesterol levels?
Short  answer: No
Although egg yolks are a major source of cholesterol — a waxy  substance that resembles fat — researchers have learned that saturated fat  has more of an impact on cholesterol in your blood than eating foods that  contain cholesterol.
“Healthy individuals with normal blood  cholesterol levels should now feel free to enjoy foods like eggs in their  diet every day,” the lead researcher from a 25-year University  of Arizona study<http://cals.arizona.edu/impacts/2000/cholesterol.html> on cholesterol concluded.
Can  you drink too much water?
Short  answer: Yes
It is very rare for someone to die from drinking too much water,  but it can happen.
Overhydrating is most common among elite athletes.  Drinking an excess of water, called water intoxication, dilutes the  concentration of sodium in the blood leading to a condition known as  hyponatremia. The  symptoms of hyponatremia can range from nausea and confusion to seizures  and even death in severe cases.
To avoid this, drink fluids with  electrolytes during extreme exercise events.
Can  yogurt ease digestive problems?
Short  answer: Yes
Our digestive tract is filled with microorganisms — some good and  some bad. Yogurt  contains beneficial bacteria<http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-yogurt-2012-9> ,  generically called probiotics, that helps maintain a healthy balance.  Probiotics  can relieve several gastrointestinal problems, including constipation and  diarrhea.
Certain  brands of yogurts, like Activa by Dannon <http://www.activia.us.com/> ,  are marketed exclusively to treat tummy issues.
Do  whitening toothpastes whiten teeth more than regular  toothpastes?
Short  answer: No
Whitening toothpastes usually contain peroxides and other strong  abrasives that might make your  teeth appear whiter by removing stains. Unlike at-home whitening strips  and gels that contain bleach, these  toothpastes do not actually change the color of your teeth.
Is  it safe to microwave food in plastic containers?
Short  answer: Yes
But the plastic container should display the words “microwave  safe.” This means that the Food and Drug Administration hastested the  container<http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_081606.htm> to make sure no chemicals used to make the plastic leech into foods during  microwaving. If  chemicals do seep out into food, the amounts are tiny and not dangerous to  our health.
As a general guideline, plastic grocery bags as well as  most plastic tubs that hold margarine, yogurt, cream cheese, and  condiments are not microwave safe.
Can  watching TV ruin your eyesight?
Short  answer: No
Watching TV will not destroy your rods and cones as the outdated  myth suggests. Before the 1950s, TVs  emitted radiation that could  increase an individual’s risk of eye problems<http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050823/news_lz1c23fact.html> after excessive TV viewing. Modern  TVs have special shielding that blocks these harmful emissions.
Is  red wine better for you than white wine?
Short  answer: Yes
Red wine contains much more resveratrol than white wine, an  antioxidant found in the skin of grapes that  has been shown to  fight off diseases associated with aging<http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-resveratrol-in-red-wine-2013-3> .
Is  bottled water better for you than tap water?
Short answer: No
Bottled  water is no safer or purer than tap water, although it is substantially  more expensive.
A recent study by Glasgow University in the U.K. found  that bottled water is actually 
more likely  to be contaminated than water from your faucet <http://www.businessinsider.com/bottled-water-is-more-dangerous-than-tap-water-2013-1> because it is less well-regulated.
Bottled water and tap water  typically come from the same sources — natural springs, lakes, and  aquifers. While  public water supplies are tested for contaminants every day, makers of  bottled water are only required to  test for specific contaminants every week, month, or year.  
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