Binge-Watching TV, Gut Flora and Other News of the Week

Health Hub health and medical picks from around the Web

Watching TV

Here is this week’s round-up of stories from around the Web featuring Cleveland Clinic experts that we know you won’t want to miss:

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Binge-watching and weight gain

The 2014 World Cup is in full swing, and many of us are binge-watching at home. Sitting in front of the TV eating snacks non-stop for two or three hours a day could lead you to consume about 3,500 calories more per week — resulting in a weight gain of one pound per week. 10 Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight During the World Cup (univision.com).

Salt limits

With studies linking too much sodium to high blood pressure and higher risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney problems, the FDA announced this week it wants to limit the amount of salt Americans eat from processed foods. But conflicting reports from leading experts in recent years make the agency’s job tougher—and leave consumers wondering who’s right. FDA Wants to Limit Your Salt Intake. Is That a Good Thing? (TIME.com).

A gut feeling

Emerging research is linking the health of the gut — the entire digestive system, particularly the stomach, intestines and colon — to general wellness. The gut is swarming with about 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria and the compounds they excrete can have positive and negative effects on your health. So you should avoid eating foods that foster the growth of bacteria that create unhealthy metabolites. 4 Habits for a Healthy Gut (CNN.com).

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Smart eating as you age

As you get older, making good food choices isn’t just about keeping your waistline small – it’s also about keeping your brain healthy. The foods you eat, especially foods high in antioxidants, can help ward off dementia and improve your brain health. 6 Foods That Can Keep Your Brain Sharp (usnews.com).

Managing MS

Estimates are that at least half the people with multiple sclerosis (MS) use supplements, herbs and other remedies to help manage their condition. If you’re considering so-called natural remedies, talk with your doctor first. A handful of herbs may benefit MS, but hundreds more could be harmful or interfere with medication. If your doctor gives you the green light, here’s some complementary therapies to add to your MS treatment plan. 7 Natural Remedies Worth a Try for Multiple Sclerosis (EverydayHealth.com).

Coconut water craze

Coconut water has taken over the shelves of grocery stores in the past few years, and nutritionists say some of the hype is deserved. The drink comes from young, green coconuts, and is rich in potassium and antioxidants. And, compared with sodas or even sports drinks, coconut water is relatively low in calories and sugar. However, the product should not replace water as the main source of hydration. Why Coconut Water Could Replace Your Sports Drink (livescience.com).

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‘Natural’ foods

Many consumers believe that products labeled “natural” are better and healthier than others, a new survey shows. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t object to the word as long the product has no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Consumer Reports is launching a campaign to ban the term, claiming it confuses and misleads shoppers. What Does “Natural” Really Mean on Food Labels? (CBSNews.com).

More children less likely

Couples with an autistic child are about one-third less likely to choose to have more kids, compared with parents who do not have an affected child, a new study says.  The researchers say this is the result of a conscious decision not to have more children. Reproductive rates of parents of an autistic child were not affected until the child started showing symptoms of the disorder. Parents of Autistic Children Less Likely to Have More Kids (CBSNews.com).

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