It’s that wonderful time of year here in Phoenix, when it’s so hot that no matter where you turn the water faucet, only hot water comes out. During July, August, and September, I seriously question my sanity for staying here. I guess if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll only make you stronger, right?

I spend a lot of time in swimming pools doing pool therapy, and it is almost impossible to keep enough sun-block on. I’ve heard that certain foods can provide sun protection. Tomatoes for one, contain lycopene, which is a known skin protector. I noticed a few others on Dr Oz’s website; tart cherries, watermelon, and nectarines. Cherries are known cancer fighters-they reduce inflammation, which is prime breeding ground for cancer cells. Cherries are also purported to be good for some types of arthritis, although they haven’t really worked for my particular type; ankylosing¬†spondylitis. Watermelon makes sense; it contains lycopene like tomatoes, and since it is 95 % water, it helps keep you hydrated. Nectarines took me a bit by surprise because I don’t know everything; not even close. These great fruits help to control inflammation and free radical damage in the watery and fatty layers of the skin. I’ve always maintained that food is medicine, believing in the adage “You are what you eat.” You can check out Dr. Oz’s website at always have great information on a lot of topics.

On a food-related topic, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida reported that a diet of high-fat, high sugar food led a group of rats to pursue obesity with passion. When they tried feeding the rats a healthier diet, they refused to eat.

When the scientists looked at the fat rats’ brains, they looked like cocaine abuser’s: they were addicted to the core.

I think this is why we like restaurant food so much. It typically contains more salt, sugar, and fat than home-cooked meals do. If you tend to eat out a lot, you will consume more calories and gain weight. I’m not saying “don’t eat out, but if you do, you need to have days where you eat salads, and you need to burn more calories than ever. OR, you can eat at home.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.