The Green Tea Phenomenon
Green tea is more popular than ever and can be found in just about everything! Drinks, food, skin care products and supplements, just to name a few. A serving of green tea has one third the caffeine of coffee, contains polyphenols (an anti-oxidant), fights free-radicals, is good for the heart and increases fat oxidation during moderate exercise. Is there anything this magic potion can’t do?
Dr. Lisa cautions that research about green tea is still inconclusive and it’s not necessarily the cure-all it’s touted to be. And, pregnant women need to be cautious about how much they consume because of the caffeine content. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that people need to drink five cups of green tea per day in order to experience the beneficial effects. However, all four doctors agree: It’s good for you!
Is Sushi Safe?
How safe is the sushi you eat? A common concern with any fish is that it may contain mercury, a known neurotoxin, which harms neural (brain) tissue. Dr. Lisa warns that pregnant women should be especially careful of contaminated fish because it puts the brain and nervous system development of the fetus at risk. Gastroenterologist Dr. Jeffrey Sherman from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center dishes on whether sushi makes for a healthy meal or a raw deal.
A Raw Deal
Dr. Sherman explains that raw fish often contain parasites that will burrow into the small bowel and cause severe abdominal pain, cramping, nausea and vomiting. Although the reaction is not life-threatening and will only last two to four days, some patients will experience months of irritable bowels as a result of the experience.
Parasites are killed when fish is stored at 10 degrees Fahrenheit for five days, but not all restaurants adhere to those regulations. Is it worth the risk? Dr. Travis chides, “I’ve eaten sushi, my friends have eaten sushi … I don’t really have to worry about it, do I?”
Dr. Sherman counters, “Well, you’re gambling with your own body. I personally don’t eat sushi, knowing what I’ve seen in my patients!”
Digestion is the process that converts food into substances that can be absorbed and assimilated into the body. Food goes through a series of stages as it is chewed in the mouth, travels down the esophagus, enters the stomach, passes through the small and large intestines and finally passes through the colon and out the rectum as waste.
The Scoop on Poop
What does your poop say about you? The consistency, texture and color of your stool are helpful barometers of your health, so make sure to take a peek into the bowl. At least one bowel movement a day is healthy and shouldn’t hurt when it passes through the rectum.
Brown = healthy
Green = healthy (this can occur from eating green foods)
Yellow or white = can indicate a problem with the gallbladder or liver
Black = can indicate bleeding or high levels of iron
Red = indicates gastrointestinal bleeding
A colonoscopy looks at the health and vitality of the inner lining of the colon by snaking a scope up the rectum. It helps to diagnose polyps, tumors, ulcers, inflammation, bleeding and cancer.
Dana, 44, has a family history of colon problems and is scared that she might too. The Doctors send Dana for her first colonoscopy and the cameras were there to capture the procedure from start to finish.
Dr. Sherman explains that the inside of a healthy colon should be pink and ruddy. He is happy to report that Dana’s colon is healthy, although he removed a polyp which he biopsied and deemed non-cancerous.
Relieved, Dana says, “I’m here to tell you that if I can do it, anyone can do it, because I’m a big chicken!”
Urine the Know
Don’t rush to flush! Urine is an indicator of internal well-being. Find out how to spot early signs of trouble.
Clear = healthy
Cloudy = infection
Flourescent green = lots of vitamins, especially B
Pink or red tint = could be blood or an infection
Concentrated orange tint = some dehydration
Urine Tract Infections
Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bladder infections and will affect 75 percent of women at least once in their lifetime. Women are 25 times more likely to develop a UTI than men, due mainly to their anatomy. Dr. Lisa explains that the kidneys filter blood and send urine down to the bladder via two ureters that run parallel to one another.
Urine pools in the bladder and travels down the urethra to leave the body. A urinary tract infection is when bacteria enter the urethra and travel in reverse. That is, bacteria go backwards up the urethra and into the bladder, which causes an infection. If left untreated, the bladder infection can then travel up the ureters into the kidneys and cause serious damage.
Corri, 21, has suffered chronic UTIs since she was 10 years old. Dr. Chris Ng, an urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, performed extensive examinations of Corri’s urinary system. Though he found nothing wrong with her anatomically, he prescribes a suppressive dose of antibiotics and suggests they do a checkup in a few months. In the meantime, he suggests that she also take acidophilus supplements and cranberry extracts, which prevent the adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall.
Heart of the Matter
The heart is a muscle that beats as a result of electrical impulses that it generates itself. When at rest, the average adult heart beats approximately 70 times per minute, which is 100,800 times a day and more than 3,000,000,000 times in a lifetime! Dr. Travis demonstrates the anatomy of the human heart and describes how the four chambers and valves of the heart work in alternating unison to circulate blood through the body. Dr. Jim adds, “It’s just one big muscle that acts as a pump.”
Take a Deep Breath
Blood transports oxygen and nutrients to organs, tissues and muscles of the body. The lungs aid in the circulation and delivery oxygen, which is delivered to the blood by the act of breathing, or respiration. A slide of a healthy lung is positioned beside a lung exposed to second-hand smoke and shows a shocking difference. The lung exposed to second-hand smoke is shrunken, blackened and diseased. Make no mistake, second-hand smoke kills!
3-D Body Scan
Robin, 42, was exposed to second-hand smoke as a child and lost both of her parents to heart disease at an early age. Frightened that her body might house some of the same diseases, Robin undergoes a 3-D body scan. Interventional cardiologist Dr. Hoodman Madyoon from Westside Medical Imaging demonstrates the results of the 3-D technology they used and reassures Robin that she’s just fine!
Bone Up On Your Knowledge
Did you know that there are 206 bones in the human body and they regenerate every seven years? Not only are bones alive, but they are almost 75 percent water. As we age, our musculoskeletal system -- as a living thing – deteriorates. To help stave off this deterioration, it is vital that women have their bone density checked frequently for osteoporosis, which is the thinning of bones. Osteoporosis affects ten million Americans, 80 percent of which are women. The Doctors recommend weight-bearing exercise, healthy living and calcium supplements as a means to combat it.