Healthy mum and baby

A new study shows that being overweight before and during pregnancy can cause your child to have hypertension and other heart problems as an adult. So if you’re overweight and thinking about becoming pregnant, make a promise to yourself and your child: “I will get fit and shrink my waist before I get pregnant.” Here are some quick tips.

Reduce portion size: Divide your 8-inch (no larger) dinner plate into four sections. One fourth gets whole grains, one half gets veggies and one fourth gets lean protein. No skyscrapers!

Burn fat faster: EGCG, green tea’s potent polyphenol, zaps fat. Move more with a morning and afternoon walk. Extra activity creates real weight loss. Boost metabolism by spicing your food to burn more calories.

Bounce back

There’s new data on how to take a licking and keep on ticking. The key to longevity is resilience. But it’s not always easy. For about 20 per cent, it comes naturally; for others, it’s a long, slow slog through the blues until you come out on the other side. Fortunately, everyone can learn how to gain the health benefits of resilience: less stress, lower risk of heart disease, less depression and anxiety. Here are three ways you can strengthen your ability to bounce back:

Cultivate an optimistic outlook; a key part of being resilient. Enhance this with daily meditation and say “bye” to the stress that causes grumpiness.

Keep your body strong and limber by eating a diet powered by lean protein and lots of veggies, fruits and 100 per cent whole grains. When you feel physically strong, your self-esteem increases, another vital part of resilience.

Nurture your social connections. They provide security and love, and help keep emotions on an even keel. Blood pressure goes down; ability to cope goes up. So reach out and touch someone, physically and emotionally.

Nuts for the guts

What do you call a nut with a hard shell covering a centre of genuine goodness? A pistachio! A new study shows that pistachios promote the growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive tract.

This little seed is packed with dietary fibre and nutrients such as B-6, thiamin, manganese and copper. Bacteria in our guts, which we need for healthy digestive and immune systems, dine happily on that mixture. And gut bacteria are a hungry lot: Between 500 and 1,000 species of bacteria live in our intestines and they are about 60 per cent of the solid matter in your faeces. That’s why you need to constantly replenish and nurture your intestinal flora!

So, have a handful of pistachios (one ounce equals 160 calories) in place of a nutrient-empty snack like chips or soda, and you’ll crack the secret to better digestive health. And a handful of walnuts eaten 30 minutes before a meal can help you lose weight.

Got the bug?

The Hepatitis C virus causes chronic liver disease. And most people have no idea that they are infected. Hepatitis C takes its time chipping away at the liver and decades can pass without any noticeable symptoms. During that time, an infected person may unknowingly pass the infection to others through contact with infected blood (sharing a needle, toothbrush or razor) or sexual activity. The newly infected person may then unknowingly pass it along. And that can repeat again and again. Hepatitis C causes liver disease and can trigger cirrhosis or liver cancer.

But the good news is that with treatment, 75 per cent of cases can be cured. So go to your doctor for a simple one-time blood test. It checks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. If you’ve got the bug, you need to know what subtype of the infection you have; it changes treatment choices and effectiveness.

King Features Syndicate

Keywords: hypertensionstress