Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to make Cody live

I found this article on msn. Sometimes I read these articles because I'm bored, but I also check them out occasionally because Cody's family medical history is terrible and I like to feel like I'm thwarting his inevitable doom. Did I ever tell you about the time taking fish oil supplements and adding more fruit to his diet helped out his cholesterol? It was awesome. But anyway, a lot on this list looks pretty helpful. A lot of it also looks like a good way to stress me out until I'm running to the Reaper with open arms. I don't think I'll be able to write snarky responses to every tip, but I'll do my best. If nothing else, I would have cut and pasted this article solely for the hilarious illustration below.

Ways to Beat the Reaper

It's simple: Employ these scientific strategies now and add years of good living to your future.

By Denny Watkins, Men's Health
2345Next >

We've been told that the only sure things are death and taxes. But just as creative accountants have helped many men triumph over their 1040s, we can help you outrun the reaper. Maybe it's a game you can't ultimately win. But by following these 50 tips, you sure as hell can send it into overtime.

1. Drink at Least Five 8-ounce Glasses of Water a Day

Scientists at Loma Linda University found that men who drank this amount of H2O were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or less every day. Cody always starts talking about how you can die from drinking too much water even time I tried making him drink more water. So I gave up. I think he's getting enough water, though, because I can usually tell by the way he smells. Just trust me.

2. Take a Laugh Break

Watching 15 minutes of funny video can improve bloodflow to your heart by 50 percent, report researchers at the University of Maryland. "This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation," says study author Michael Miller, M.D. For your daily dose, click on the "hilarious" video link at We can do this. He thinks I'm funny.

3. Don't Go to Work Sick

Over a 3-year period, men who clocked in despite feeling under the weather had double the heart-attack risk of guys who stayed in bed, according to a U.K. study. No chance of this happening. He takes off an average 1.5 work days for every tummy ache. Yes, that's a real average. Yes, I keep track of these things so I can use them later in arguments.

4. Put Out the Fire in Your Chest

Untreated heartburn can lead to a heart attack, according to a study in the International Journal of Cardiology. Scientists discovered that as acid levels in the esophagus rise, the incidence of blocked bloodflow to the heart also rises by 20 percent. A natural remedy: Analyze your diet. Don't make a habit of drinking wine, juice, or carbonated beverages, all of which are highly acidic and may trigger heartburn, say South Carolina researchers. Crud. He has heartburn even without the juice and cokes (wine is for people with money). The last time he tried to treat his heartburn, it made his urine test positive for ecstasy.

5. Indulge Your Chocolate Craving

In a 15-year study, Dutch scientists determined that men who ate just 4 grams of cocoa a day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That's the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey's Kisses — an amount that can fit into any diet. He's all over it. There's a two-pound Kit-Kat in our freezer.

6. Say No to Froot Loops

In a review of 53 studies, Australian researchers found that regularly eating cereal made from refined grains raises insulin and C-reactive protein, and lowers good cholesterol — all factors that boost your odds of developing heart disease. A better choice for your morning bowl: Post Shredded Wheat cereal, which is made from 100 percent whole grains and contains no sugar. No cereal this week. Just donuts.

7. Take a Magnesium Supplement

Over an 18-year period, French researchers determined that men with the highest blood levels of magnesium are 40 percent less likely to die of any cause than those with the lowest levels. Magnesium can make multivitamins too bulky, so add a 250 milligram (mg) pill from or GNC to your daily regimen. Magnesium. I thought you took it to get regular.

8. Burn 1,100 Calories a Week

Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue — the dangerous belly fat that causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Falling short? Join a league: A recent British Medical Journal study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average calorie burn by 500 a week. He probably burns that many calories in a week. The dangerous belly fat is ever-present, though. I always thought it looked kind of jolly. I'm not clicking on that link up there.

9. Take a Daily Multivitamin

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that this helps prevent the DNA damage that causes cancer. We like Centrum Silver. Done! I think he may even taken Centrum Silver for a while because we had a $2 coupon for it one time.

10. Hit the Weights

University of Michigan scientists found that men who completed three total-body workouts a week for 2 months lowered their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That's enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40 percent and heart attack by 15 percent. He doesn't lift a lot of weights. Sometimes he carries my purse, though. And other times he tries to lift me. Surely this must count for something.

11. Set a Three-Drink Limit

Harvard researchers determined that downing more than three drinks in a 24-hour period increases your risk of atrial fibrillation, a condition that may boost your odds of a stroke fivefold during that time. An important note: When the average man pours himself a glass of wine, it's typically twice the size of a standard drink (4 ounces), report researchers at Duke University. 3 whole drinks. That's hilarious.


12. Plop an Alka-Seltzer...

It contains 325 milligrams of aspirin, the same as a regular aspirin, and begins fighting blood clots almost 3 minutes faster than a pill, according to a study in Thrombosis Research. We don't have any alka-seltzer!!! I think we have about 20 years to go out and buy some though.

13. ...and Call a Ride

Walk-in patients wait almost twice as long in the E.R. as those who arrive by ambulance, according to a University of New Mexico study. Of course we'd call an ambulance. He drives too slow to not.

14. Treat a Killer Bee Sting

You may not know if you're allergic to the venom of a bee, wasp, or hornet until you've already been stung. But if you start to experience the symptoms of a life-threatening reaction — hives, wheezing, abdominal cramping — you can save yourself in 3 steps:

Step 1. Call 911.

Step 2. Take a Benadryl.

Step 3. Lie on your back and elevate your legs while you wait for help, says Steven Kernerman, D.O., an allergist at the Spokane Allergy and Asthma Clinic. An allergic reaction can constrict your blood vessels, and our three-step strategy counteracts that by improving bloodflow to your heart. I have nothing for this one. Visualizing Step 3 just kind of did me in.

15. Eat Produce at Every Meal

If you consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, you have a 26 percent lower risk of stroke than people who eat fewer than three servings, according to a recent U.K. study. Sometimes he puts corn in the Hamburger Helper. That counts, right? Actually, I think we get quite a bit of fruits and veggies. It's probably not enough.

16. Monitor Your Blood Sugar

Johns Hopkins University researchers recently determined that people with the highest blood-sugar levels have twice the risk of heart disease as those with the lowest. A warning sign: fasting blood sugar that's greater than 100 mg per deciliter. He never does that. I think it's mostly out of fear. And also the lack of blood testing equipment. It's not like it's part of our first aid kit.

17. Think Positive

Purdue scientists discovered that constant worrying shortens your life span by 16 years. That is an insane amount of time. That is all.

18. Keep Your Cool

Men who frequently express anger outwardly are more than twice as likely to have a stroke than guys who control their tempers, according to the journal Stroke. If you have anger-management issues, try fish oil. National Institutes of Health scientists found that hostile, aggressive men often have low blood levels of DHA — one of the main omega-3 fats found in the oil. We like Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega ($27 for 60 1,000-milligram (mg) softgels; Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg every day. I think I've seen Cody express anger maybe 3 times. Ever. The rest of the time he's said, "That makes me mad" with no actual expression on his face or any kind of emotion. Overall, I think he's calm. And he takes fish oil. Boom.


Most shark attacks occur at dawn and dusk, when sharks feed, says Alan Henningsen, a marine biologist and shark researcher at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. You can watch the sky for clues to their location: Seabirds eat the same fish as sharks. Here are three more ways to avoid a grisly death.

19. Dive with a Partner

This cuts the chance of a shark attack by 50 percent, say Australian scientists. Yes, because as his partner, I am the embodiment of the type of person you want to have with you when there are sharks around. "In Case of Emergency, Get Jen" the signs will read.

20. If You're Attacked, Hit the Shark in Its Eyes or Gills

These are its most sensitive areas. The snout might work as a target, but this tactic often results in a bitten arm, according to a University of Maryland study. This is not helpful at all.

21. For God's Sake, Don't Pee in the Ocean

Bodily fluids attract sharks. This is incredibly helpful. It needs to be on a t-shirt.

22. Try a Natural Remedy

According to Israeli scientists, eating one red grapefruit a day lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20 percent, even in people who don't respond to statins. Grapefruit is disgusting. Maybe some other natural remedy.

23. Have Breakfast within 90 Minutes of Waking

A University of Massachusetts study found that men who waited longer than that were 50 percent more likely to become obese. And U.K. researchers determined that increases in body mass were directly proportionate to the likelihood of dying of gut cancers — specifically rectal, bladder, colon, and liver. He does this! Yay! Does it matter if it's donuts? Maybe we can switch to something else next week.

24. Vacuum for 30 Minutes

Doing 150 calories' worth of chores a day can lower high blood pressure by 13 points, according to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The reduction lasts only 8 hours, but make it a daily habit and you can lower your BP in the long term. (Helping out more with housework may improve your sex life, too.) Vacuuming our apartment for 30 minutes would mean going over everything 5 times. I really wouldn't have any complaints with that, though.

25. Eat Berries

The antioxidants in cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have been shown to offer protection from a stroke, keep you mentally sharp as you age, and ward off cancer. He doesn't seem to like berries too much. Too bad. We need to get back in the habit of buying them.

26. Drownproof Yourself

If you're dumped in the water without a life preserver, the key to survival is staying warm and conserving energy. Use the method taught to U.S. Navy pilots: Float facedown in the water with your knees tucked against your chest in the fetal position. (This slows the drop in body temperature.) Exhale bubbles slowly, turning your head to one side only to inhale deeply. Repeat until help arrives. Wouldn't it just be easier to stay away from water? No drowning, no sharks, no urine. It sounds like a good plan to me. It could become our family motto.

27. Sleep on Your Side

This can halve the number of sleep-apnea-related wakeups you experience during the night. Such interruptions make you up to six times more likely to be involved in an auto accident, due to residual fatigue, according to researchers at University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland. To keep from rolling over onto your back as you sleep, stuff a small, firm neck pillow down the back of your T-shirt before dozing off. We both sleep on all sides. Getting hit by the other person is a bigger problem with wake-ups than sleep apnea.

28. Light a Jasmine-Scented Candle

Men who did this for just 1 minute before bed fell asleep faster, tossed and turned less, and felt more refreshed in the morning than those who didn't inhale the aroma, report scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University. That's important, because insufficient sleep boosts your risk of diabetes, and restless sleep increases your odds of a stroke. Jasmine. I have not seen that scent at Target.

29. Live Life in a Smoke-Free Zone

Secondhand smoke, besides boosting your risk of lung cancer, raises your diabetes risk by 40 percent — nearly the same as smoking does. We should be okay on this one, with 10-15 exceptions per year.

30. Dodge a Deadly Lightning Bolt

Stay off the toilet during severe thunderstorms. If lightning hits within even 60 feet of your house, it can not only jump through phone and electrical lines but also run through plumbing, according to the National Weather Service. That has got to be one of the worst ways to die. Ever. What if that's what really happened to Elvis?

31. Put Your iPod on a Mount

Reaching for an unsecured object as you drive makes you eight times more likely to swerve into a road barrier, according to the Mayo Clinic. The man is as good as dead.

32. Check Your Smoke Alarms

The most likely reason a house fire ends in a fatality: no early warning. While just about every U.S. residence has smoke alarms, a Morehouse School of Medicine study revealed that the devices were nonfunctioning in one-third of homes due to dead or absent batteries. If you've ever let the juice in any of your detectors dwindle — or removed the battery simply to disable the low-power beep — consider installing at least one DuPont self-charging smoke alarm ($26; It screws into a ceiling light socket and feeds off your home's electricity. I could confess something really stupid about messing with our alarm because the crud at the bottom of the oven keeps burning, but I won't.

33. Sip on Mint Tea

It contains the powerful antioxidant hesperidin, which reduces the inflammation and oxidative stress associated with diabetes by 52 percent, according to a study at the University of Buffalo. And despite its lack of caffeine, mint tea also increases alertness. Mint. We don't have that one.

34. Don't Jaywalk

This is particularly good advice if you've had too much to drink, because 77 percent of pedestrians killed while crossing the road aren't at intersections. And 53 percent of those killed at night had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above .08 percent, the legal limit in all 50 states. Well, I guess he's safe there.

35. Don't Get Blown to Bits

Keep bleach, paint stripper, fabric softener, glue, and sidewalk salt away from gas appliances. The chlorine or fluorine in these products breaks down into ionized gas, which can eat holes in the pipes that deliver the fuel for your furnace, range, or dryer. Think you smell fumes? Don't call for help from inside your house; using your phone could create an electric spark and set off an explosion. Who knew the utility room could be a set for a "MacGuyver" episode?


Scandinavian researchers have observed that deep depression (and its spinoff, suicide) is often caused by job stress. Here's how to lower stress, boost your mood, and simultaneously improve your overall health.

36. Find Time to Exercise...

People who exercise at any intensity for 2 hours a week — an average of about 17 minutes a day — are 61 percent less likely to feel highly stressed than their sedentary counterparts, according to researchers in Denmark. Umm....I don't think we're doing that. (By 'we' I mean Cody. I think I spend that much time just walking from my car to the building and back again every day.) But I think he's close.

37. ...Then Take it Outside

British researchers found that people who exercised outdoors reduced their depression by 71 percent, while indoor exercisers' depression decreased by only 45 percent after their workouts. Sometimes, we walk to Target. Other times, we just have a hard time finding a good parking spot at the grocery store.

38. Cut Out the Sweet Stuff

Tufts University researchers found that men on low-sugar diets had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who consumed all types of carbs. The happier people also limited their total carb intake to 40 percent of total calories. Good thing they didn't say to cut out the processed meats. Actually, I'm pretty sure he's consuming all types of carbs on top of everything else, too.

39. Douse Your Salad with Oil and Vinegar

European scientists determined that unheated olive oil reduces cancer risk. As for vinegar, eating it prior to a high-carbohydrate meal (like pasta) slows the absorption of carbs into your bloodstream. This prevents the spikes in blood sugar and insulin that signal your body to store fat. Note to self: Begin having salads around the house...

40. Add Curry to Vegetables

Rutgers University scientists discovered that a combination of turmeric (found in curry powder) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (a compound in broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower) helps fight prostate cancer. The researchers believe that dusting your vegetables just once a week will provide protection. I don't know if we even have curry. I guess we should start.

41. Be a Career Coach

A man married to a woman who is upset by her work is 2.7 times more likely to develop heart disease. If your wife won't find a new job, help her practice her negotiating skills. A Harvard study found that due to anxiety, women don't initiate money talks at work as often as men do, especially when the boss is male. So...if you don't like your job, you should exercise (#35), but if your wife's stressed, she should get another job so you won't die. Wow. Wow. Hmmm. And just what do you plan on proposing if she's a stay-at-home mom? Those kids will not let you transfer.

42. Stash a Cinnamon Air Freshener in your car

The strong, spicy smell can help you stay alert as you drive. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University found that a whiff increases alertness by 25 percent. Sucking on an Altoid may work, too. Oh, those Jesuits. What will they come up with next?

43. Test Yourself for HIV

A recent British study confirms that early detection is the key to extending your life. You can order a take-home HIV test online ($44,, mail in your blood sample, and receive your results in the mail just 7 days later. I'm totally going to suggest this to Cody tonight so I can watch his reaction. Really, if you know a guy and you love him, you should tell him to get a blood test for a terminal illness. I no longer have to wonder what to get my Dad for Christmas. Thanks, "Men's Health"!

44. Fall on Your Butt

If you feel yourself losing balance on the stairs, crouch so that your butt hits first, says Robert Nirschl, M.D., a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Don't be afraid to bounce down a few steps — it'll make a fatal blow less likely. I remember when falling down the stairs on my butt was a really fun game. Losing your balance on the stairs can also be more enjoyable if you have the foresight to grab a sleeping bag.

45. Design a Colorful Menu

Colorado State University scientists discovered that men who eat the widest variety of fruits and vegetables gain greater cancer-fighting benefits than those who eat more total servings but choose from a smaller assortment. That's because the plant chemicals that protect against disease vary between botanical families. Mix it up by choosing one serving from five different color groups: blues and purples, greens, whites, reds, and yellows and oranges. Believe it or not, he's got this one. Completely.

46. Take a Noontime Nap

Breaking up your day with a 30-minute snooze can reduce coronary mortality by 37 percent, report Greek researchers. Why? It reduces stress that can damage your heart. Even a short nap once or twice a week was found to decrease the risk of early death. If only we had Greek bosses who let us take naps. If he falls asleep at home, though, that nap usually lasts longer than 30 minutes.

47. Steep Your Tea for at Least 3 Minutes

Any less than that lowers the number of disease-fighting antioxidants. Procrastination is fun and healthful!

48. Use Watercress in Your Salad

A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating 3 ounces of watercress every day increases levels of the cancer-fighting anti-oxidants lutein and beta-carotene by 100 and 33 percent, respectively. What is with these people and eating salads?!

49. Enjoy Your Joe

Brooklyn College researchers recently discovered that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53 percent. If you like Starbucks, choose a Caffè Americano: A grande counts as 4 cups and contains just 15 calories. Cody + 4 cups of coffee in a day = jitters, irritability, and eventual death. (Jen + 4 cups = the ability to function without bursting into tears or going back to sleep.)

50. Ask for the Heel

Bread crust has up to eight times more pronyl lysine — an antioxidant that fights cancer — than what's in the center. Similarly, the skin of produce is loaded with healthy nutrients, too. The heel is his favorite part. It's odd little details like this that make me think he'll be just fine.

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