New research, presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Chicago, suggests that women who have a drink or two in midlife tend to be healthier overall in their old age. Previous recommendations were for women to have one drink per day, men two, as moderate alcohol intake has health benefits for the cardiovascular system.

Another study presented at the conference showed that women who had a daily drink had a lower risk of stroke.

“Probiotics” appear to improve gastrointestinal health, and shorten the course of diarrhea by more than one day. Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, cheeses, yogurt, kefir, and pickled products. They are also available at health food stores.

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, do not prevent atrial fibrillation from recurring, at least in the short-term. Omega-3’s have been touted as heart healthy in other studies, but not in this study. However, this study used only healthy patients; the results may not apply to the elderly, patients with other forms of heart diseases, or those who have recently had heart surgery.

The US is still getting a failing grade on daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Five years after a national launch to get us to eat more fruits and veges, only 6% get enough veges, and 8% get enough fruit. Experts agree that eating more fruits and veges, exercise, and weight control, are the best weapons in the fight against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. With obesity skyrocketing, more attention in this area is needed, especially with kids.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.