Drs. Oz and Roizen

Homemade pumpkin spice a healthy option

By Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen

One of the earliest recorded recipes for “Pumpion Pye” comes from “The Compleat Cook,” published in 1671. It calls for “about a half a pound of Pumpion,” chopped with several herbs, flavored with “Cinamon (sic), Nutmeg, Pepper and six cloves,” and mixed with 16 eggs and apples. That’s a big, spicy pie!

These days, pumpkin spice mixtures are so popular that they’re the driving force behind best-selling beverages — pumpkin spice lattes — available at McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc. Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte sales jumped 234 percent from 2008 to 2012, and from 2003 to 2015 they sold 200 million of them!

What’s making those lattes so fetching? Well, the flavor actually comes from a bunch of artificial flavors and bad-for-you sugars. Each barista pump of the pumpkin syrup that goes in your drink (there are about eight) adds 50 calories of sugar, with a few from makes-you-age-faster saturated fat in whipped cream.

We have a better idea: Make your own pumpkin spice mixture! You’ll get the delicious flavor and all the health benefits of a slimmed-down version of the original Pumpion Pye.

Our Compleat Recipe: Mix a tablespoon of nutmeg (anti-inflammatory properties) and cardamom, a teaspoon of allspice and cloves, 2 tablespoons of ginger (aids digestion and helps relieve pain) and 1/4 cup of cinnamon (contains polyphenols that helps reduce insulin resistance, lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol and even prevent some cancers), all ground. Add to your coffee. Your body and your skin deserve to get and look younger, not older, this time of year.

Beat cold and
flu season — with sex!

About 20 years ago, a Scottish researcher postulated that the reason Goldie Hawn, Joan Collins and Helen Mirren looked so good was because they had very active sex lives. And he didn’t mean promiscuous sex, but loving sex with a regular partner. (Two of the three women were in long-term marriages, while Ms. Collins was between her fourth and fifth husbands.)

Well, assuming they were having fulfilling love lives, research indicates that they also were less likely to come down with a cold! That’s because researchers from Wilkes University discovered that college students in steady relationships who had sex two or three times a week (that was the minimum for college students in steady relationships) had elevated levels of an antibody critical for the health of mucous membranes, immunoglobulin A (IgA). Seems mutually loving whoopee tends to crank up IgA, and higher levels of IgA translate to a stronger immune system and a greater ability to fend off infections!

Add in that mutually loving sex lowers blood pressure, triggers the release of body chemicals like phenylethylamine (also called the love drug), serotonin (a happy neurotransmitter), oxytocin (the bonding hormone) and stimulates the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. That’s some pretty powerful medicine.

So if you want to beat colds and other sniffly infections that come with flu season, make sure you eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily (see the Garden Harvest Soup recipe at doctoroz.com,) cuddle together under the covers and turn up the heat! We’ll even write you a prescription.

The eyes have it!

“Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” a civil-rights anthem from the 1950s recorded by everyone from Pete Seeger to Bruce Springsteen, calls for folks to pay attention to their goals and to have faith that they can win the fight.

Well, for the past decade, ophthalmologists have been telling folks at high-risk for age-related macular degeneration to keep their eyes on another prize: preserving their vision by taking supplements of lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg), as well as DHA-omega-3, zinc, copper and vitamins C and E.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, vitaminlike pigments, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers and are thought to neutralize light-induced eye damage. (They’re also the reason eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps keep you young!)

Carotenoids’ red, orange, green and yellow colors are found in tomatoes, carrots, apricots and dark leafy greens like kale. You also can get them by taking supplements (Dr. Mike takes DHA-omega-3 combined with lutein and zeaxanthin — his eye doc found that his retina needed them).

But be careful of supplements. Folks without any risk for, or indication of, AMD sometimes take lutein and zeaxanthin in amounts greater than what’s recommended for at-risk folks. And overdoing it, say researchers in the journal Ophthalmology, can trigger crystal deposits in the retina’s macular region (crystalline maculopathy). That can interfere with visual acuity. So don’t take more than minimal supplements unless your eye doc says to, and keep a sharp eye out for a colorful variety of 5 to 9 servings of fruit and veggies daily.

Your soundtrack
to better health

Around the time Alan Menken won an Oscar for the soundtrack to “Beauty and The Beast” (1991), you and millions of others found yourselves repeatedly humming the melody to “Belle.” And in 2009, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” may have bounced around inside your brain for a while. These persistent tunes, which researchers call “earworms,” drill their way into your mind because they’re simple, upbeat and catchy.

Well, while those earworms can be darn irksome, the power of music can put a smile on your face. Researchers from McMaster University have found that if you use music to power your workout during intense intervals, you’ll end up more likely to stick with it and enjoy it!

Interval training (whether it’s during a spin class or your daily walking routine) increases endurance and aerobic capacity — great for the heart and self-esteem — and it can help increase calorie burn and decrease your risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes and dementia. So consider downloading your favorite up-tempo music to power you through times of increased workout intensity.

We like listening to music during an interval routine on the treadmill: Start with a 2-minute warm-up at a pace that’s right for your fitness level (say, an intensity of 4-5 on a scale of 1-10). Then increase your intensity each minute so that you hit 6, 7, maybe higher. With music cranking, hold your most intense pace (walking or jogging) for 1 minute. Then cool down to your warm-up level. You’ll be singing a whole new tune about your health!

Dental visits
ward off pneumonia

In the “Friends” episode “The One with Ross’ Teeth,” Ross (David Schwimmer) overbleaches his teeth for an upcoming date, leaving him with glaringly white choppers. Unfortunately, when his date leads him into her living room, it’s lit with black light, making his mouth glow like a poster from Haight Ashbury in 1966. “What’s the matter with you?” asks the woman. “What’s the matter with me?” he shoots back. “You’ve got a black light! It’s 1999!”

Well, a new study has turned a bright light on some pretty startling facts about your teeth (and gets glowing reviews from us). Research presented at The Infectious Diseases Society of America conference looked at around 26,000 people and found that those who never got dental checkups had an 86 percent higher risk of pneumonia than people who visited the dentist twice a year. That’s because regular dental visits can reduce the presence of oral bacteria, such as streptococcus, haemophilus and staphylococcus, which can trigger pneumonia if they make their way into your airways.

There are other benefits of regular dental checkups and cleanings: Many studies find that people with less oral plaque have lower levels of bodywide inflammation that can lead to artery-wall thickening, a risk factor for heart disease, cognitive problems and a lousy sex life. All of those make your RealAge older. You can get a younger RealAge simply by brushing twice and flossing at least once daily. Then make a date with your dentist. You’ll be doing more for yourself than brightening your teeth!

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 .

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The Union Democrat
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