White Blood Cells
White blood cells are a vital part of the immune system, and protect you from illnesses all year round. There are several types of white blood cells, the most common being neutrophil. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains how a white blood cell attacks at how a white blood cell pathogens in the body.
You can improve your white blood cell count this winter by getting eight hours of sleep each night, eating healthy proteins like chicken and eggs, drinking six to eight glasses of water a day and exercising 30 minutes daily, even if it’s just a walk.
Elaine writes: I want to avoid gaining weight this winter, so I’m eating egg whites for breakfast. Are powdered egg whites a good option in a pinch?
Egg whites are a healthy, low-calorie source of protein in both their fresh and powdered state; however, powdered egg whites are not made for consuming on their own. While the powdered version works well in recipes and boast advantages, such as a longer shelf life and no risk of salmonella poisoning, Dr. Travis says if you want your omelet or scrambled eggs to taste their best, you should choose farm fresh eggs or carton egg whites.
While the whites of the eggs contain the most protein and less fat, you don't have to avoid eating whole eggs. Yolks are packed with nutrition as well and have been proven not to raise blood cholesterol levels.
White and Parenting
• Learn why breast milk changes color as your baby grows.
The Doctors’ Winter White Party Q&A
White chocolate, white cheese and even a surprising use for white wine – The Doctors share health tips for your next winter soiree.
Is white chocolate as healthy as dark?
Cocoa bean solids contain high amounts of antioxidants and flavanoids, which are good for heart health and may even protect against certain cancers. Eating two or three squares of dark chocolate containing at least 70 percent cocoa every week can benefit your health.
White chocolate, on the other hand, is prepared from cocoa butter, which does not contain any of the nutrients found in cocoa solids. So while white chocolate may taste good, it is not good for your health and should be consumed in moderation.
Is white cheese less processed than orange cheese?
“When it comes to most white, orange and yellow cheeses, the process of turning milk into cheese is pretty much the same,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “And it doesn’t mean white is any healthier or less processed.”
Cheddar cheese is orange because of a substance called annatto, which is added to cheese to create unique textures and flavors.
While white and orange cheeses are generally comparable nutritionally, there is one exception: American cheese. The labels say “processed cheese product,” which signals that it’s not real cheese. These products are largely made from oils, dyes and other chemicals, so it is best to stick to natural, minimally-processed cheese.
Does white wine have the same benefits as red, even though it doesn’t have red tannins?
“We all know a glass or two of red wine improves heart health because of the resveratrol that comes from the skin of the grapes,” Dr. Travis says. “White wine has [resveratrol] too, just in lesser amounts, since the white grape skins are kept on for a shorter amount of time than the reds."
Another health benefit of white wine is it’s a natural antibacterial agent. White wine has been shown to clean bacteria like salmonella, and is a great option for cleansing fresh produce. It may also be used to clean countertops and won't cause your family to breathe in harsh chemicals. Don't worry, the wine smell fades as it dries!
Is white champagne more likely to cause a hangover than darker liquors?
A 2009 Brown University found that congeners, which are produced during alcohol’s fermentation process, worsen hangovers and are found in higher concentrations in darker liquors such as whiskey and rum, than in light-colored alcoholic beverages such as vodka and gin.
Drinking too much of any alcoholic beverage will give you a hangover, so be sure to drink responsibly and in moderation.
Every winter, my neighbor invites us over for a “snow ice cream” party. She makes treats out of real snow, and all the kids eat it. Is eating snow safe?
According to a study by Brigham Young University, there is no need to keep your children from eating snow as long as it’s fresh. Snow is unsafe when it’s contaminated by bacteria and animals, however, clean snow that has just fallen through the air and landed on the ground should not be harmful.
Purity of snow depends on where you live. If you live in a heavily polluted city, odds are the snow has a great deal of contamination. But if you live on the outskirts of town, without pollution, that snow should be safe enough to ingest.
Winter Beauty Spa
Keep your skin healthy in icy-cold weather with these beauty tips!
The Doctors demonstrate handy uses for ice.
• De-Fat your soup
“I love eating hot soups during the winter, but there can be a lot of added calories and fat,” Dr. Lisa says.
Take the layer of fat off the surface of your soup by filling a metal ladle with ice cubes. Skim the bottom of the ladle over the top of the liquid and the fat will stick to the ice.
You can also refrigerate your soup overnight, which will cause the fat to rise to the soup’s surface and harden, making for easy removal.
• Mask the taste of medicine
Parents often have difficulties getting their children to swallow bitter-tasting medicines. Dr. Sears recommends freezing plain water in a popsicle tray and having your child suck on it before taking the spoonful of medicine. The ice will numb your child’s taste buds and lessen the unpleasant taste.
• Water your plants
Ever wonder why your plants die, no matter how much you water them? Oftentimes, most of the water flows right past the roots and out of the pot’s drainage holes, leaving your plant dehydrated and your water wasted. Watering with ice cubes is an effective alternative to traditional watering techniques.
“Just fill up the soil with ice cubes and they’ll melt nice and evenly and you’ll get a nice, even watering,” Dr. Lisa says.
• Pluck splinters painlessly
There’s nothing like a roaring fire to warm you up during cold winter months, but handling fire wood can lead to painful splinters.
If you get a splinter, Dr. Travis recommends soaking the affected area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, which makes the wood softer and easier to remove. Then wash the affected area to prevent infection. Finally, numb with ice to reduce discomfort before going in with tweezers to remove the splinter.
• Painless waxing and plucking
To quell the pain of hair removal, Dr. Ordon recommends numbing the area with ice before beginning your treatment. The cold reduces blood flow and inhibits the nerves of the skin. The ice can also be reapplied after the hair is removed to reduce swelling.
“Make sure you dry the area after applying the ice before you wax,” Dr. Ordon says.
Should white foods always be avoided?
White foods, such as flour, rice, pasta, bread, crackers and cereal are processed and full of sugar-like substances, while white, creamy sauces are loaded with saturated fat. Additionally, salt can be bad for blood pressure and white sugar can expand your waistline.
However, not all white foods are created equal – some are actually beneficial to your diet!
Cauliflower: Cauliflower is packed with antioxidants and has been linked to the prevention of bladder, breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancer.
Garlic: This pungent food is beneficial to the circulatory system, and is often used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack and atherosclerosis.
White button mushrooms: This variety of mushroom has been shown to enhance the activity of critical cells in the body’s immune system. However, do not eat white mushrooms found in your backyard, as those are extremely poisonous.
Eggs: Packed with protein, there is no significant link between eggs and heart disease or raised cholesterol like once thought. One whole egg per day has been shown to enhance heart health and circulation. Women who eat more eggs may decrease their risk of breast cancer.
Nonfat Greek yogurt: One 6-oz. serving of nonfat plain Greek yogurt contains 18 grams of protein, 20 percent of the daily value of calcium and only 100 calories! Sprinkle fresh berries on top for a sweet, creamy and healthy snack.
From white bumps to white fluids, The Doctors explain your body’s white mysteries.
A white tongue is caused by a coating of debris, bacteria and dead cells and is usually nothing to be alarmed about. Brushing your tongue everyday while brushing your teeth can prevent this from happening.
However, the whiteness could be caused by a yeast overgrowth called thrush. If brushing doesn’t solve the problem, be sure to consult your doctor.
White Semen vs. Clear Semen
Semen is the penile discharge released at the peak of sexual stimulation, and its color can vary.
“Semen is usually a pearly, milky liquid that can range from almost clear to much more white,” Dr. Travis says. “Usually, men who ejaculate frequently will have clearer semen than those who don’t. The reason is that the white in semen is the actual sperm cells, so it takes time for them to replenish.
“For people trying to conceive, it may be beneficial to ‘store up,’ so that the sperm cells are more concentrated,” he adds.