Health Buzz: Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise

Plus, best and worst foods to eat before a workout.

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Malaria Vaccine Could Save Millions

Scientists said Tuesday they've developed the first vaccine that offers some protection against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that sickens millions each year. Results from a clinical trial of 15,460 children in seven African countries show that, among those 5 to 17 months old, three doses of the vaccine cut their risk of developing the most serious type of malaria roughly in half during the year following the shots. Protection was slightly higher, 56 percent, for less serious strains of the disease. Results in children 6 to 12 weeks old will be released next year. "This potentially translates into tens of millions of malaria cases in children being averted," lead researcher Tsiri Agbenyega told The Boston Globe. "This is remarkable when you consider there has never been a successful vaccine against [a parasite]." Globally, malaria sickens 225 million people and kills nearly 800,000 annually—mostly children, who are more susceptible than adults. Though researchers are excited about the vaccine, which was developed by GlaxoSmithKline, they caution that it won't be available for at least three years, since further testing must be completed. It's unclear whether it will be effective for adults.

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  • Best Workout Foods: What to Eat Before a Workout

    Ample energy and a steady stomach are two keys to a great workout. But people often skip pre-exercise meals due to lack of time or not knowing what to eat, says Manuel Villacorta, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. No more excuses: These tummy-friendly options have ideal amounts of carbs and protein to keep you fueled, and they're easy to prepare on-the-fly.

    1. A whole-wheat bagel with jam: "Simple carbs burn quickly, like paper, while complex carbs burn like wood and take a little longer to provide energy," Villacorta says. An easy-to-digest whole-grain bagel with jam or a drizzle of honey combines both types of carbs—a perfect way to fuel your workout from start to finish, he says.

    2. Protein shake with added carbs: Premade protein shake mixes are an easy on-the-go snack, and a good way to reap protein's benefits while adding carbs to stay energized. Aim for a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio with 10 to 20 grams of protein, advises Skyler Meine, strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of IdealShape, a Utah-based fitness company. He recommends starting with a shake base of juice or water (milk can cause mucous), then adding oats and a banana or other fruit to provide carbs. [Read more: Best Workout Foods: What to Eat Before a Workout.]

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    • Worst Workout Foods: What Not to Eat Before a Workout

      The last thing you want at the gym is an upset stomach, or to tire out 10 minutes in. Reach for the wrong snack and you could doom your workout. Eating foods that sit well and convert to energy efficiently is critical to exercise quality, especially for longer workouts. "Nothing messes up performance like gastrointestinal distress," says Katherine Beals, nutrition clinic director at the University of Utah. To avoid queasiness and hitting the wall, skip these 6 foods before a workout:

      1. Last night's leftovers. Pasta, rice, and potatoes are great carbohydrate sources and tend to settle well for most people, but they're best eaten plain or with a tomato-based sauce, says Beals (one of 22 members of a panel assembled by U.S. News to rate the Best Diets). "I can't tell you the number of people who want to eat pasta [before exercise] and they'll eat a fettuccini alfredo that's really rich, or Indian food, and, boy, do they pay for it," she says. Cream sauces, seasonings, and spices are likely to upset your stomach or trigger heartburn once you start moving.

      2. French fries. Potatoes may be good workout fuel, but that doesn't mean you should grab some French fries before the gym. Deep-fried fatty snacks will slow you down, says Manuel Villacorta, registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Avoiding fast food before a workout might be a no-brainer, but even healthy high-fat snacks, like string cheese and almonds, can make you feel sluggish, he says. That's because fat is turned into energy much less efficiently than carbs and protein are. Furthermore, fatty foods commonly cause bloating, according to the Mayo Clinic, which no one wants when they're trying to exercise. [Read more: Worst Workout Foods: What Not to Eat Before a Workout.]