Protecting your kid’s skin today — and for decades to come
In 1953, Coppertone suntan lotion debuted one of the most iconic product images ever: the Coppertone girl, who sported a surprised look as a puppy pulled down her swimsuit bottoms, revealing some serious tan lines. Decades later, thankfully, Coppertone’s slogan transitioned from “don’t be a paleface” to “advanced sun protection.” They caught up with research that showed a tan isn’t good for your skin — or your survival.
Despite widespread conversations about the risks of sun damage, many parents are still unaware of the dangers of sun exposure and uninformed about sun protection. According to a recent national poll conducted by C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital at Michigan Medicine, 11 percent of parents of kids age 5 to 12 say they don’t have a specific minimum SPF they use on their children, and 3 percent report their kids don’t use any sunscreen. The consequences are farther reaching than a painful burn and a poor night’s sleep. Even one sunburn in childhood raises the risk of cancer later in life.
So starting today, protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays:
■ Keep newborns out of the sun. For other kids, limit sun exposure while the sun is strongest — 10am-4pm.
■ Use a micronized zinc oxide with an SPF of 30 to 50. Steer clear of all other ingredients. Apply it on cloudy days too. And give kids a hat and UV-protective clothing.
■ Apply sunscreen every two hours; more frequently if a child is swimming or sweating. No sunscreen is waterproof.
The benefits of limiting your drinking
When Louis Pasteur, the father of pasteurization (it knocks out bacteria in milk, making it safe to use) said, “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages,” he was speaking from experience in the lab and real life.
These days, thanks to him, you don’t have to worry about getting salmonella, E. coli, listeria or campylobacter from milk, but research shows that wine — in moderation — is still a healthful beverage.
A new study looked at data on 19,877 participants in the Health and Retirement Study, the University of Michigan’s nearly 20-year examination of America’s older population, to determine participants’ brain function. Starting at age 62, every nine years or so, the researchers tested their word recall, mental status and vocabulary. Turns out, folks who were low to moderate drinkers (less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men) had significantly higher cognition.
Unfortunately, most folks don’t know what’s meant by low or moderate drinking. In fact, alcohol use causes about 88,000 deaths annually in the U.S., making it the third leading preventable cause of death. So here’s the scoop: In America, an acceptable amount is defined as around a drink a day for women and two for men of 12 ounces of regular beer (5 percent alcohol), 5 ounces of 12 percent alcohol wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Never more. But if you are more than rarely over the top, don’t ignore the problem. Reach out to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or consider talk therapy.
Blue light blues
When Chuck Berry sang “The House of Blue Lights” he extolled that nightspot’s great eats and music: “Fryers and broilers and Detroit barbecue ribs” and “an eight beat combo that just won’t quit.”
These days exposure to blue lights — emitted by most white LEDs and many tablet and phone screens — is nothing to sing about.
We’ve long known that blue light from your phone or tablet messes with your sleep-wake cycle, triggering sleep disorders, and is associated with obesity, especially in night-shift workers. Now scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health have published research in Epidemiology that, for the first time, explores the association between nighttime exposure to outdoor artificial light and colorectal cancer. Their conclusion: Exposure to the blue light spectrum may increase your risk for this common cancer. In fact, study participants with the highest exposures to blue light had a 60 percent higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than folks with far less exposure. This builds on the institute’s earlier study that found exposure to nighttime blue light increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
So what can you do to limit your exposure? Indoors it comes down to three smart steps: 1) In the evening turn on the blue light filter on your phones, tablets and computers; 2) install black-out curtains and/or shades on bedroom windows to keep outdoor light from invading your space; 3) install blue-free bulbs (they do exist; some with whiter-appearing light than others) in nightlights, and all bedroom and bathroom lights.
How to eat your way out of prostate cancer
Andre Dawson hit 300 home runs and stole 300 bases. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. Steve Garvey holds the National League record for consecutive games played — 1,207. He, too, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. They’re not alone: An estimated 191,930 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020.
It’s true, there’s a 100 percent five-year survival rate if you’re diagnosed while the disease is still local or regional, but the best bet is to never get the disease at all. Guys, you can do a great deal to make sure that’s your future.
Researchers recently published results of a seven-year study of more than 1,900 men with prostate cancer in the journal Nutrients. They reported that a Western diet loaded with added sugar in food and beverages ramps up the risk of being diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer by over 30 percent.
This complements a Harvard study that found men who have two-plus servings of tomato sauce a week cut their risk of prostate cancer by 23 percent and a 2000 study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that found that men who ate three or more half-cup servings of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, a week reduced their risk by 41 percent compared with men eating fewer than one serving weekly.
You know what to do: No foods or drinks with added sugars, and every day enjoy a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies, including cooked tomatoes. That’s a grand slam!
The chocolate equation
When Nelson Mandela said “a good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination” he was talking about empathy and wisdom’s combined powers to contend with the difficulties one encounters in life. But we don’t think he would have minded that we’re applying it to heart health as well.
If you learn the facts about heart health (a good head) and then apply them to your ticker, you’ll end up with a good heart. And it might surprise you to learn that you can enjoy the journey. Take the most recent study out of the Cleveland Clinic and other centers that looked at chocolate-eating and heart health. It found that folks who ate chocolate once a week had a lower risk of coronary artery disease, compared with people who rarely or never ate chocolate.
But you don’t want to overdo it — chocolate has sugar and fat that can contribute to health challenges. A 2018 study presented in the 2018 European Society of Cardiology meeting found that while having a moderate amount of chocolate (one to three servings a month) reduced the risk of heart failure by 23 percent, having over a serving a day (way more than the Cleveland Clinic study) caused a 17 percent increase in the risk of heart failure.
So aim for no more than an ounce of dark chocolate (studies show it offers the most benefits and least risks) every so often. And go to Dr. Mike’s www.whenway.com to discover a complete nutritional guide to a heart-healthy, younger — and tastier — RealAge.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.