In the 2003 film "Green Tea," a woman named Wu Fang (played by Zhao Wei) orders a cup of green tea on every date, hoping that by reading the tea leaves she'll be able to predict her future with each man she meets. But she's never able to get a fix on the guys' character and goes from one disastrous encounter to the next. Although green tea is tasty and packed with well-established health benefits, maybe she should have tried ordering black tea instead.
New lab research published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that decaffeinated black tea is great for your inner life. It works as a powerful prebiotic and promotes weight loss, even when eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet, by decreasing the percentage of gut bacteria associated with obesity and increasing bacteria associated with lean body mass.
Decaf green tea also promotes healthy gut bacteria and weight loss, and previous research asserted that green tea delivered more health benefits than black. But, say the researchers, their new findings suggest that, "through a specific mechanism in the gut microbiome, [black tea] may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans."
Since caffeine isn't required to get health benefits from tea, you can always sip an after-dinner cup. Enjoy what researchers in a study in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition say are the brews' "anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, antihypertensive, neuroprotective, cholesterol-lowering, and thermogenic properties" that help prevent a wide range of diseases. Now, that's a mouthful.
Talking to kids about traumas and disasters
In the 2004 movie "Into the Storm" a tornado devastates a high-school community. As the townspeople work to rebuild their connections, they find hope and security. Good for them. But in the real world, with all the deadly storms and tragic shootings that have happened lately, many parents are struggling to help their children cope. Fortunately, there are effective ways to help your kids deal with it all.
Whether a disaster/trauma has happened to your family or is in the news, the Red Cross and FEMA suggest limiting children's exposure to media coverage of events and listening carefully to your kids' worries.
Kids under age 5: They may have nightmares or even regress and start bed-wetting or thumb-sucking. Don't be critical. Offer reassurance that the family is now safe. Don't replay blow-by-blow info on the disaster.
Children 5-11: They may become aggressive or withdraw from normal activities. Give them time to find the words to express their feelings. Reassure them that you're there for them.
Teens: They may rebel, opt for risk-taking behaviors or have trouble sleeping. Listen; ask about their feelings. Patience!
FEMA also suggests that, as a family, you create a disaster plan to assure kids you're prepared come what may.
Check out the free app Helping Kids Cope from UCLA National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, at iTunes or the Google Play store.
Sesame Street – with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – is working to help kids handle disasters. Cookie Monster can teach deep breathing to handle stress, etc.
Wash away UTIs
Remember Adam Sandler in "Billy Madison," Bill Paxton in "True Lies" and (most poignant) Jeremy Blackman in "Magnolia"? In those movies, it's the men and boys who, finding themselves in some supposedly amusing or heartfelt situation, fail to hold their water, so to speak, and pee on screen.
But peeing in your pants because of a urinary tract infection is not funny – and is overwhelmingly more common in women than men. Half of all women experience one episode by age 32. Among middle-age folks, women are 30 times more likely to have a UTI than men. And of the 9 to 10 million people each year who see a doctor for those burning, stinging infections, 84 percent are women.
The standard treatment is antibiotics, but although effective, they can damage your gut biome and fuel antibiotic resistance. And antibiotics don't keep the infection from returning.
Now there's an easy, healthier way to fight off UTIs: New research from the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that instead of avoiding liquids, you should increase your fluid intake (water is best) to at least 48 ounces daily.
In the study's group of 140 healthy, premenopausal women, those who upped their water intake to that level reduced the incidence of UTIs by almost 50 percent over the course of a year – also reducing their use of antibiotics by around the same amount. We like phenazopyridine (in AZO and other products) as a way of tolerating the pain until the water therapy or antibiotics take effect.
Mehmet Oz is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.