Health Buzz: Non-Fat Yogurt May Help Blood Pressure

Busted: 8 myths about flu season; 5 signs your new fitness routine won't last 6 months


Study Finds Link Between Non-Fat Yogurt and Low Blood Pressure

Looking to boost your heart health? Low-fat yogurt may do just that, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions in Washington, D.C. Researchers tracked more than 2,000 adults without high blood pressure for 14 years and found that participants who ate more non-fat yogurt were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate less non-fat yogurt. Specifically, people with 2 percent or more of their daily calories coming from yogurt were at lower risk for high blood pressure. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 68 million Americans have high blood pressure, which ups the risk for heart disease and stroke. While researchers point out that the new study doesn't prove that non-fat yogurt directly prevents high blood pressure, yogurt's nutritional value paired with a healthy lifestyle is still vital for heart health. "Yogurt can be part of a healthy diet and may help with managing blood pressure," Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas told ABC News. "A healthy diet coupled with regular physical exercise can help you manage your health and prevent chronic diseases like high blood pressure."

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  • Busted: 8 Myths About Flu Season

    Dread it all you want, but there's no escaping flu season. Every year, like clockwork, it returns: a miserable six-month stretch defined by sniffling, sneezing, a sore throat, and all-over achiness. Brace yourself, because the flu is expected to strike by October, and the vaccine is already arriving at doctors' offices and other clinics.

    As anyone who's been sidelined by flu knows, it's as contagious as it is unpleasant. The flu typically spreads via a respiratory route: We catch it and then breathe the virus onto others. "If someone gets in your breathing zone—within about three feet—they'll likely inhale it and get infected too," says William Schaffner, chair of Vanderbilt University's department of preventive medicine. "The tricky part is that you won't start to experience symptoms for about three days, but at day number two you're already spreading it to your friends."

    With all those germs comes lots of misinformation. We bust eight common myths about flu season:

    1. The flu is no worse than a bad cold: Au contraire, it can be downright dangerous. Yes, there's the standard congestion, cough, body aches, and fever. But there are more serious complications, too, like developing pneumonia and other secondary bacterial infections. Flu lands around 200,000 people in the hospital every year, and kills an estimated 30,000 Americans annually. [Read more: Busted: 8 Myths About Flu Season]

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    • 5 Signs Your New Fitness Routine Won't Last 6 Months

      Getting regular exercise is tough for a number of reasons: fatigue, busy schedules, the money factor. The last thing we need is to further doom a regimen by packing it with exercises we won't stick to, writes U.S. News blogger Chelsea Bush.

      Research suggests that 50 percent of people drop a new exercise program within the first six months. Yet it takes around six months to feel comfortable with a new sport, says Rick Henriksen, a family and preventive medicine physician with University of Utah Health Care. And competency is when the real fitness benefits kick in.

      While motivation plays a big role in getting steady exercise, experts say some types of activities are "stickier" than others. Below are five of the most common routine-killers (cure them and you'll have activities that practically push you out the door):

      1. It's high maintenance: Sure, hiking delivers a great workout, but "a five-hour hike doesn't sound good after work," Henriksen says. If your new favorite sport takes more than 1 to 2 hours, or requires good weather or a long commute, it's going to be hard to stay at it. Better to save it for special occasions and focus on something more flexible—ideally something that takes 30 to 60 minutes that you can easily do before or after work, he says. [Read more: 5 Signs Your New Fitness Routine Won't Last 6 Months]