By Trisha Pasricha, NYTimes
As Thanksgiving break comes to a close, Dr. Baha Moshiree, a gastroenterologist at Atrium Health, explains how we can soothe our stomachs after the biggest food holiday of the year. During the meal, she advises to chew well and slow down as the food travels down your esophagus and into your stomach. When we eat too fast, our stomachs don’t have enough time to break down food and empty themselves, thus it starts to stretch and send nausea signals to our brain. Another method is to limit high-fat, high-fiber foods, such as cheesy potatoes or brussel sprouts, respectively, as they can lead to bloating and constipation. Dr. Moshiree recommends starting the meal with soup or turkey, an easily digestible protein. What if you already overate? – one of the most common symptoms after overeating is heartburn, and therefore, the solution is to take over-the-counter antacids or histamine-2 blockers that reduce acid production. If you are nauseous, ginger can be effective. Otherwise, gentle exercise or a leisurely walk can relieve bloating and discomfort by increasing digestion. With a little foresight and planning, we can all be prepared to have a great time on any holiday and enjoy our meal.
— by Emily Kim
By Lisa Mulcahy, Washington Post
Whiteouts are scary and, unfortunately, not that uncommon: one in three people will suffer a whiteout once in their life. Many people believe these occurrences are representative of larger, more pressing health issues. But, this is not always the case. There are a few key differences between a harmless whiteout — one that results from standing up too quickly and will pass quickly — and a legitimately concerning whiteout that forebodes a stroke or another severe health event. While stroke-type events typically occur suddenly and usually only affect one eye, the benign whiteout includes a gradual loss of vision in both eyes. To know whether the whiteout is affecting only one eye, doctors recommend closing the eye thought to be impaired. If you can still see clearly, the whiteout is only affecting one eye, and if your field of vision remains blurry, both eyes are affected. Take note of this, and immediately tell your doctor, as doing so will help them determine the cause.
— by Andrew Feld
By Anahad O’Connor, The Washington Post
A study of cancerous mice found that having certain bacteria in the gut microbiome helps the body respond better to cancer treatments. These findings, along with others, pushed researchers to focus on how to optimize the immune response by manipulating the composition of the gut microbiome. Luckily, humans have some power to change their gut microbiomes, mainly by switching their diets. This can work for or against them, depending on how they eat. A new study with a group of 128 cancer patients discovered a diet adjustment that may help cancer patients have better immune responses to their treatments: eating more fiber. Researchers studied the amount of fiber consumed by study participants and found that those who had higher dietary fiber intake had higher life expectancies. Specifically, each additional 5 grams of fiber consumed daily reduced death and cancer progression by 30%. According to a physician-scientist from MD Anderson, this is likely because certain bacteria in the gut that help with the human immune response require fiber to survive. As a result, high fiber consumption supports a larger gut population of beneficial bacteria. These findings will contribute to the arduous fight against cancer, and provide a tangible solution to patients who feel powerless.
— by Sammy Ramacher
Items contributed by: Emily Kim, Andrew Feld, and Sammy Ramacher