Health & Fitness
Guide to Wellness

Guide to Wellness July 2020

Consumer Reports, Guide to Wellness, will help you discover the healing power of food. What are the top superfoods and how to make healthy swaps. Also, learn about supplements that can make you sick and how to enhance your heart health.

United States
Consumer Union
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in this issue

1 min.
your partner in wellness

AS THIS ISSUE GOES to press, we are all confronting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. While the outbreak evolves, so does our common understanding. But you can bank on the fact that CR is working every day to share reliable, easy-to-follow advice based on the latest medical knowledge from the most respected experts. You can access our ongoing updates at our guide to the coronavirus, at CR.org/covid19. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your body strong and healthy. So we’re also sharing in this special issue the best nutrition advice and the safest, smartest solutions for restful sleep and a toned body. You can trust our insight because we’re nonprofit and independent: We buy all the products we test, and we don't accept any ads. And, as always, CR…

3 min.
how can i strengthen my immune system?

Over the years, countless dietary supplements and alternative remedies have been touted as immune-system boosters. But at this point, there’s no evidence of any single solution—supplement or otherwise—for improving immune function. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do. Experts agree that a healthy lifestyle—eating a nutritious and varied diet, exercising, getting ample sleep, and managing stress and anxiety—is important for keeping your immune system strong. For example: People whose diets are low in iron; selenium; vitamins A, C, and D; and several of the B vitamins may have fewer white blood cells—our bodies’ first line of defense against disease. To ensure that you’re getting what you need, aim for as many types of fruits and vegetables as you can, along with whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy…

6 min.
protect yourself and others from coronavirus

The novel coronavirus pandemic has quickly spread around the globe. The virus can lead to COVID-19, a disease marked by respiratory problems that are usually mild (coughing, fever) but can become severe (pneumonia, organ failure)—especially in older adults and people with underlying health conditions. Some of the best ways to protect yourself are by social distancing, washing your hands frequently (scrubbing thoroughly for at least the 20 seconds), and using a hand sanitizer that's at least 60 percent alcohol when you can’t get to a sink. Here are additional ways to stay safe. SANITIZE YOUR SMARTPHONE (WITHOUT DAMAGING IT). Research suggests that the novel coronavirus may survive on surfaces for hours or even days. So if you touch your phone constantly (as so many of us do), you’ll need more than the…

3 min.
cleaning products that destroy coronavirus

THE CORONAVIRUS IS one of the easiest types of virus to kill if you have the appropriate product, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “It has an envelope around it that allows it to merge with other cells to infect them,” says Stephen Thomas, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of global health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “If you disrupt that coating, the virus can’t do its job.” A solution of soap and water is one effective way to break the protective envelope. But there are other products you may already have at home or can buy in a store that will also kill the virus. BLEACH The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a diluted bleach solution for virus disinfection (? cup of bleach per 1 gallon of…

5 min.
can a healthy gut boost your mood?

YEARS OF RESEARCH HAVE DEMONSTRATED that a healthy diet can help cut the risks of illnesses, from diabetes to heart disease to some cancers. Now, more and more studies suggest that food choices may also affect emotions—even for the 8 percent of American adults who report struggling with depression, according to data from a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. “Research shows that what you eat does impact your mood,” says Umadevi Naidoo, M.B.Ch.B., director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A study published in April 2019 in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people with depression who scored high on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (consuming a diet rich in produce, whole grains, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids) were less likely to have…

1 min.
when you need more help with mood

A better diet is a good first step but may not be enough. Periodic feelings of anxiety, sadness, or irritability are normal, as is occasional trouble sleeping or appetite changes. But if any of the above persist for more than two weeks, see a doctor, says Drew Ramsey, M.D. Start with your primary care doctor, who can screen you for depression and check for medical issues that may be impacting your mood, such as a thyroid disorder. If your doctor thinks you may be depressed, she may refer you to a therapist for talk therapy and/or to a psychiatrist to discuss medication therapy. If you’re unsure whether you need help, you can take a short self-assessment at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website.…