The Feel-Good Report
Glass is half-full
In a Time article adapted from his book, The Optimism Bias, Tali Sharot notes that humans are geared to be positive. We believe that our futures will undoubtedly improve because our brains are wired that way. This unsubstantiated hope does prove problematic, such as when we skip regular doctor checkups or avoid sunscreen. But on the whole it makes our lives better.
Here’s how staying sunny benefits your health:
• Hope lowers stress and improves physical health.
• Optimists work longer and earn more money. They also save more.
• Hopeful people with heart disease are more likely to heed doctors’ orders when it comes to diet and exercise.
• Pessimistic cancer patients are more likely to die within eight months than their more optimistic counterparts.
Beware of Flip-flops
In the relaxed Southwest Florida culture, flip-flops are a staple of any wardrobe. But they can lead to some serious podiatric problems. “In a normal flip-flop, the front of your foot has to work harder to keep the flip-flop on, and there is minimal support and shock absorption,” says Chris Cole, a certified licensed pedorthist and owner of Foot Solutions of Estero. “That can lead to and exacerbate tendinitis, arch pain, hammer toes and many other issues.” That’s not to say you have to squeeze into a pair of orthopedic clown shoes. Instead, Cole recommends trying sandals from brands such as Finn Comfort, Aetrex or Aravon.
There’s little doubt that Americans are more substantial than they used to be. That’s putting it delicately. Frankly, we are fatter than past generations, with a third of U.S. residents currently labeled obese. The cause of this collective widening, however, hasn’t been fully understood. A new study published in the journal PLoS One may have discovered one of the primary factors.
By examining working conditions since 1960, researchers discovered that “daily occupation-related energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories.” The change to more sedentary working conditions has long been suspected of adding to collective weight gain, but this is the first measurable evidence of that hypothesis. Now that it’s been proven, time will tell whether employers take the necessary steps to help their workforce curb obesity and the health risks it causes.
Which diets work best?
U.S. News and World Report has long been a sage when it comes to ranking things. (Is there a high- schooler, or fretting parent, who doesn’t consult its list of colleges before mailing applications?) The publication recently set its sights on diets, releasing its list of best culinary courses for overall health.
DASH: Originally developed to fight high blood pressure, it prescribes nutrient-heavy foods with potassium, calcium, protein and fiber.
Mediterranean: Modeled after the healthier fare surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, it leans heavily on fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish.
TLC diet: Designed to cut high cholesterol, it recommends cutting back heavily on fat, particularly saturated fat.
Weight Watchers: One of the few commercial diets high on this list, it emphasizes fruits and vegetables and group backing.
Mayo Clinic: A two-part diet that promises a loss of six to 10 pounds in the first two weeks, one to two pounds per week thereafter.
Thank you, shapewear
This won’t be the sexiest topic I’ve ever addressed, but when you look good you feel good. So let’s get to it: shapewear. Face it, sometimes we need to look better than our builds allow. Swallow your pride, realize that not even the models we hire identically resemble their pictures in this magazine and use these items, recently featured on Good Morning America, to create the body nature hasn’t give you. Yet.
For busty figures: Bali Powershape Cami ($35.20)
For saddlebags: Spanx’s High-Waisted Tight-End Tights ($38)
For bulky torso: SkinnyShirt ($68)
For the muffin top: Wacoal Embrace Lace Hi Waist Shaping Brief ($56)
Dr. Constantine Mantz (left), the chief medical officer at 21st Century Oncology, is pioneering a new treatment for the early stages of prostate cancer that’s receiving nationwide attention. His research deals with stereotactic radiosurgery, a complicated type of radiation therapy that can shave weeks off a patient’s treatment time, from two months to two weeks.
His specific technique, called stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR), also uses a state-of-the-art tracking system that ensures cancer is receiving the full blast of radiation. “SABR may enable improved outcomes while maintaining, if not further reducing, the already low complication rates that we have seen with earlier advances in prostate cancer,” Mantz says. His research proved noteworthy enough to be recently published in the medical journal Urology and for Mantz to be invited to speak at the American Urology Association annual meeting in May.