Are cotton swabs really bad for my ears?
Jennifer M., Emmaus, PA
When used properly, cotton swabs are perfectly safe. But most of us ignore the warning that says not to insert the swab into the ear. Doing so can push earwax farther down the canal, possibly damaging the eardrum and leading to hearing loss. Remember that ears are self-cleaning. If anything, all you need is a cotton-swab sweep along the skin folds of the
Outer ear. If you suspect you have a wax clog-up, drop a tiny amount of mineral oil into your ear and let it drain on its own.
My cholesterol is high, but I don’t want to take meds. Help!
Relax—most people can put a dent in their levels without popping pills. The first line of defense: fitness and diet. Cardio exercises have been proven to lower cholesterol. Try to
Get at least 30 minutes a day. Next, be sure you’re eating 25 grams of fiber a day from fruit, veggies, and whole grains, because the stuff can block cholesterol from entering your bloodstream. Also, put away the doughnuts and stick with unsaturated fats from foods such as
Avocados. If these fixes don’t help after three months, you may need meds after all.
I always clean my plate—and then feel bloated. Help!
Aleisha F., Chicago, IL
The key is to eat slowly to give your brain 20 minutes to figure out that your stomach is full. We often go on autopilot and shovel an entire plateful down before we realize it was too much. Instead, wait to reload your fork until you’ve swallowed the bite in your mouth.
Want to be really diligent? Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 (stuffed) to 10 (famished) every few bites: Do you really want more or is your stomach starting to feel full?When you feel slightly satisfied—about a 4—set down your fork for good.
Does pouring the oil off of natural nut butter save significant calories?
Christine M., Astoria, NY
It will eliminate a few calories, but likely not enough to make a dent on your scale’s readout.
What’s more, you’re losing heart-healthy unsaturated fats, which add flavor and help keep you full. Harvard researchers found that people who ate more nuts over a four-year period
gained less weight, likely because the nuts help ward off hunger.
For a more effective way to save calories, stick to a two-teaspoon serving size of nut butter, which has only 65 calories and five grams of fat.