When replenishing fluids, does milk beat water?

6 colorful or black panels with a brightly colored or black jug on each

Driving along the freeway recently, a billboard caught my eye. In bold letters it proclaimed:

Milk hydrates better than water.

Wait, could this be true? And if so, should I be rehydrating with milk after a workout? And should we all have milk, rather than water, in our water bottles?

What’s behind the claim?

Unsurprisingly, the ad is sponsored by the milk industry. And while I’d never heard this claim before, the studies behind the idea aren’t particularly new or compelling. The website supporting this ad cites three small studies dating back more than a decade:

  • A 2007 study enrolled 11 volunteers (five men, six women) who exercised until they were markedly dehydrated on several occasions. Each time they rehydrated with a different drink, and their urine output was measured over the following five hours. After drinking milk, the study volunteers produced less urine (and therefore retained more fluid) than with water or a sports drink (Powerade). Therefore, milk was considered to provide better hydration.
  • A study published in 2016 described seven men with marked dehydration following exercise who drank fat-free milk, water, or Powerade. The results were similar.
  • A 2016 study enrolled 72 healthy, well-hydrated men who drank various fluids and then had their urine production measured over the next four hours. The drinks used in this study were water, whole milk, skim milk, beer, Dioralyte (an oral rehydration solution used after fluid loss from diarrhea), tea, coffee, diet cola, regular cola, orange juice, and Powerade. The researchers found that fluid retention was best after drinking either type of milk or the oral rehydration solution; results for the other drinks were similar to water.

Sounds like milk is a winner, right? Maybe. But there are other things to consider.

The study details matter

The findings of these studies aren’t definitive. As with all research, there are important limitations. For example:

  • The small number of participants in these studies means that just a few people could have an outsized impact on the results.
  • Two of the three studies involved significant dehydration by intensely exercising in a warm environment, leading to several pounds of fluid loss. Therefore, the results may not apply to people engaged in more typical daily activities or workouts. In addition, the studies equated better hydration with less urine production in the hours after drinking various fluids. This is only one way to define hydration, and not clearly the best one.
  • The advantage of milk reported in these studies may be too small or too temporary to matter much. For example, in the study of 72 people, milk drinkers produced about 37 ounces of urine over four hours while water drinkers produced 47 ounces. Does the 10-ounce difference have a meaningful health impact? If the study participants had been monitored for a longer period, would this difference disappear?
  • The amount of milk consumed in the study of seven men would contain more than 1,000 calories. That may be acceptable for an elite athlete after hours of intensive exercise in the heat, but counterproductive and costly for someone working out for 30 minutes to help maintain or lose weight. Tap water is free and has no calories!

Hyping hydration: Many claims, little evidence

The billboard promoting milk reflects our relatively recent focus on hydration for health. This is promoted — or perhaps created — by advertisers selling sports drinks, energy drinks and, yes, water bottles. But does drinking “plenty of water” translate to weight loss, athletic performance, and glowing appearance? Does monitoring urine color (darker could indicate dehydration) and downing the oft-recommended eight glasses of water daily make a difference in our health? On the strength of evidence offered so far, I’m not convinced.

But wait, there’s more! Emotional support water bottles, a trend popularized recently in Australia, offer one part public expression of your commitment to health and one part security blanket. (Yes, it’s a thing: #emotionalsupportwaterbottle has more than 80 million views on TikTok.) And then there’s intravenous hydration on demand for healthy (and often wealthy) people convinced that intravenous fluids will improve their looks, relieve their hangovers, help with jet lag, or remedy and prevent an assortment of other ailments.

Is this focus on hydration actually helpful?

Before water bottles were everywhere and monitoring fluid intake became commonplace, medically important dehydration wasn’t a problem for most healthy people who were not rapidly losing fluids due to heat, intense exercise, diarrhea, or the like.

The fact is, drinking when thirsty is a sound strategy for most of us. And while there are important exceptions noted below, you probably don’t need fluids at hand at all times or to closely monitor daily fluid intake to be healthy. There are far more important health concerns than whether you drink eight glasses of water each day.

When is dehydration a serious problem?

Weather, exercise, or illness can make dehydration a major problem. Particularly susceptible are people who work or exercise outside in hot and humid environments, those at the extremes of age, people experiencing significant fluid loss (as with a diarrheal illness), and those without reliable access to fluids. If significant dehydration occurs, replacing lost fluids is critically important, and may even require a medical setting where intravenous fluids can be provided quickly.

The bottom line

Despite the claims of milk ads and the iffy studies justifying them, the idea of replacing water with milk for rehydration may not convince everyone: the taste, consistency, and extra calories of milk may be hard to get past.

As for me, until there’s more convincing evidence of an actual health advantage of milk over water for routine hydration, I’ll stick with water. But I’ll forego the water bottle.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


Healthier planet, healthier people

A crystal globe with countries etched on, circled by stethoscope with red heart; Earth health and our health connect

Everything is connected. You’ve probably heard that before, but it bears repeating. Below are five ways to boost both your individual health and the health of our planet — a combination that environmentalists call co-benefits.

How your health and planetary health intersect

Back in 1970, Earth Day was founded as a day of awareness about environmental issues. Never has awareness of our environment seemed more important than now. The impacts of climate change on Earth — fires, storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, species extinction, and more — directly or indirectly threaten our well-being, especially for those most vulnerable. For example, air pollution from fossil fuels and fires contributes to lung problems and hospitalizations. Geographic and seasonal boundaries for ticks and mosquitoes, which are carriers of infectious diseases, expand as regions warm.

The concept of planetary health acknowledges that the ecosystem and our health are inextricably intertwined. Actions and events have complex downstream effects: some are expected, others are surprising, and many are likely unrecognized. While individual efforts may seem small, collectively they can move the needle — even ever so slightly — in the right direction.

Five ways to improve personal and planetary health

Adopt plant-forward eating.

This means increasing plant-based foods in your diet while minimizing meat. Making these types of choices lowers the risks of heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and many cancers. Compared to meat-based meals, plant-based meals also have many beneficial effects for the planet. For example, for the same amount of protein, plant-based meals have a lower carbon footprint and use fewer natural resources like land and water.

Remember, not all plants are equal.

Plant foods also vary greatly, both in terms of their nutritional content and in their environmental impact. Learning to read labels can help you determine the nutritional value of foods. It’s a bit harder to learn about the environmental impact of specific foods, since there are regional factors. But to get a general sense, Our World in Data has a collection of eye-opening interactive graphs about various environmental impacts of different foods.

Favor active transportation.

Choose an alternative to driving such as walking, biking, or using public transportation when possible. Current health recommendations encourage adults to get 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity physical activity, and two sessions of muscle strengthening activity. Regular physical activity improves mental health, bone health, and weight management. It also reduces risks of heart disease, some cancers, and falls in older adults. Fewer miles driven in gas-powered vehicles means cleaner air, decreased carbon emissions contributing to climate change, and less air pollution (known to cause asthma exacerbations and many other diseases).

Start where you are and work up to your level of discomfort.

Changes that work for one person may not work for another. Maybe you will pledge to eat one vegan meal each week, or maybe you will pledge to limit beef to once a week. Maybe you will try out taking the bus to work, or maybe you will bike to work when it’s not winter. Set goals for yourself that are achievable but are also a challenge.

Talk about it.

It might feel as though these actions are small, and it might feel daunting for any one individual trying to make a difference. Sharing your thoughts about what matters to you and about what you are doing might make you feel less isolated and help build community. Building community contributes to well-being and resilience.

Plus, if you share your pledges and aims with one person, and that person does the same, then your actions are amplified. Who knows, maybe one of those folks along the way might be the employee who decides what our children eat from school menus, or a city planner for pedestrian walkways and bike lanes!

About the Author

photo of Wynne Armand, MD

Wynne Armand, MD, Contributor

Dr. Wynne Armand is a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where she provides primary care; an assistant professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School; and associate director of the MGH Center for the Environment and … See Full Bio View all posts by Wynne Armand, MD


Curiosity: From Worry to Wonder

A young girl meanders through a park, unhindered, on a hunt of grave importance. With dirt under her fingernails and sunshine in her eyes, she searches for whatever has caught her attention. Observing her, you’d see nothing more than normal childlike behavior—upturning rocks and digging into soil, tiny fingers separating pebbles from treasure. Her tangled hair falls around her face; she sits squatting like a frog over the ground. She is, in all her mess, utterly delighted and entirely content; she is fascinated by the scene before her. 

I see something in this girl that strikes me. She doesn’t correct her stance or fix her hair, because she hasn’t been told to care. She doesn’t startle at the rustling in the bush, because she hasn’t been told to fear. In all her innocence, she is unfazed by worry and she is captured by the ordinary. And I wonder, is there a lesson to be learned from the curiosity of the child, something valuable that we’ve lost? What if this girl holds the secret to how we were designed to live? What if we were born to be explorers? What if we have misplaced a way of seeing that could empower and enrich our lives today?

If you have ever engaged with someone truly curious, then you know you have been graced with a compelling experience. Can you remember how that felt? They looked into your eyes—really looked—and when you spoke, they really listened. They asked thoughtful, genuine, inquiring questions about you; they cared. And somehow, through this act of curiosity, even a stranger could feel like a best friend. If this experience truly touched you, as it does most of us, then it’s worth examining—and worth returning to afresh.

Psychologist and academic Dr. Roger Bretherton takes a deeper look at curiosity and defines it as: “intentionally deciding to look again at things that are already familiar.” He argues that curiosity is a beneficial urge to “get to grips with the world around us,” and that it has huge psychological and emotional benefits. It not only expands our field of vision, but it deepens our relationships with others and with the world around us.

Let’s go even further to take a look at curiosity through the lens of researchers.  In a Neuron study, curiosity was shown to activate the reward centers of the brain, motivating exploration, engagement, and connection. Further research by the International Association of Applied Psychology revealed that curiosity can transform anxiety, anger, and even depression into something life-giving. This is good news: with a second glance and an open mind, we can shift our thought patterns from worry to wonder. By attempting to learn about the self and the other, we can move into a place of calm and compassion. Imagine if we were to treat curiosity as a powerful anti-anxiety agent for our minds. As Dan Zadra said so poignantly: “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” Let’s use our imaginations for something brighter.

So, then, what does it mean to be curious? First, let go of your notions of curiosity as a passive trait that simply follows the next fad or leaps into the latest novelty. This isn’t the type of curiosity we’re talking about. We’re looking at the curiosity that is active and engaged, the curiosity that is open, yet discerning. And to activate this quality, it will take a little bit of practice.

Practice: “Tell me more…”

Think of a typical conversation with a friend. How often do you listen only to find yourself thinking of a good bit of advice, or mirroring their experience to one of your own—and all the while they’re still not yet finished speaking? How often do we let fear or anxiety spin narratives about others, before understanding what the other is going through? It’s helpful to remember that we don’t fully know what another is experiencing, thinking, or feeling, and we certainly don’t know what’s going to happen. A simple and practical way to engage in curiosity is to take the approach of, “Tell me more,” rather than to box that person into our own assumptions or past experiences. This posture engages empathy, too, which can make that fear and anxiety feel much, much smaller.

Practice: “What is beautiful here?”

Another simple way to practice curiosity is to catch yourself in familiar places and ask, “What is beautiful about this? What can be learned here?” Take on the role of the seeking observer. You’ll be amazed by the fresh, yet subtle sense of awe that arises in your spirit, just by noticing. Next time you’re walking that same route through your neighborhood or taking the 8am train to work, remember that there is always opportunity for more openness, more seeing, more learning.

Practice: “How am I, really?”

Lastly, go inward and take on a curiosity towards yourself; reach for some self-kindness and take an honest look at your inner world. Whether you’re sitting down for a meal, catching a breath between plans, or winding down for the day, try asking (without judgment): “What brought me the most joy today? What am I afraid of? Am I holding onto something that I need to let go of?” Dive deeper with yourself, get creative, and become truly interested in where you’re at.

You, Darling, are a wonder to behold and to understand more deeply—as are your surroundings. So, today, put on your curiosity glasses, shift that worry into wonder, and take a second glance at life today.

Images Via Ali Mitton



Guía de Grecia: toda la información para tu viaje

Con esta guía de Grecia esperamos poder ayudarte a organizar tu viaje a uno de los países más impresionantes del mundo que además tiene una de las historias más fascinantes del planeta.

Ubicado en el sureste de Europa y con unos once millones de habitantes, Grecia tiene siete archipiélagos, con alrededor de 1400 islas, de las que 227 están habitadas, algo que lo convierte en un país increíblemente atractivo para los viajeros, no solo por su cultura sino también por la posibilidad de descubrir algunas de sus islas más turísticas como Santorini o Mykonos o algunas más tranquilas como Paros o Naxos, en las que pese al turismo, podrás retroceder en el tiempo.
Esto unido a que sea cuál sea tu destino en este país, podrás disfrutarás de la amabilidad griega y como no, su deliciosa gastronomía, hacen de este país un destino perfecto para pasar tus vacaciones.

Si tu idea es hacer un recorrido por Grecia continental, te recomendamos hacerlo en unos 10-14 días para conocer los puntos más importantes, aunque por supuesto este tiempo se puede reducir quitando algunas visitas.
Si quieres visitar también alguna isla, es recomendable añadir al itinerario unos 7 días, que te permitirán hacer la visita a 2-3 islas dependiendo de las distancias.
En total, para un viaje super completo, que incluya cultura, paisajes e islas, creemos que 21 días sería lo idóneo.

Basándonos en la ruta que realizamos por el país durante el viaje a Grecia, te dejamos esta Guía de Grecia con toda la información para que puedas preparar tu viaje. ¡Empezamos!

Guía de Grecia

En la guía de Grecia podrás encontrar todos los artículos que hemos publicado sobre el país, en los que hablamos de temas como los lugares que no puedes perderte, rutas optimizadas por días, recintos arqueológicos imprescindibles, además de posts exclusivos sobre las islas que visitamos, en los que incluimos todos los detalles para que tu viaje sea lo más increíble posible.
Con todos esperamos poder ayudarte a que la organización de tu ruta por Grecia sea inolvidable.

Qué ver y hacer en Grecia

Antes de decidir cuántos días quieres viajar es importante saber qué lugares quieres visitar en Grecia para poder así determinar cuál es la duración más adecuada para tu viaje.
Además de esto es muy interesante tener claros que lugares son los más interesantes en cada ciudad, para también así decidir cuáles quieres incluir o no y hacer un viaje a tu medida.
Para que esto sea más fácil, en la guía de Grecia te dejamos los siguientes artículos que esperamos, te ayuden con los preparativos del viaje.

Viaje a Grecia10 lugares que ver en Grecia imprescindibles10 consejos para viajar a GreciaDónde dormir en GreciaGuía de Grecia

Rutas por Grecia

Para que sea mucho más fácil organizar tu viaje, te dejamos varias rutas e itinerario por el país y las islas que estamos seguros, te podrán ayudar.

Ruta por las Islas Griegas en 7 días (itinerario + mapa)Rutas e itinerarios por Grecia en 7 y 10 días


Con más de 3000 años de historia Atenas es sin lugar a dudas un imprescindible en cualquier viaje a Grecia. Aunque no son pocos los viajeros que tienen por ella un sentimiento de amor-odio, difícil de explicar y entender, nosotros después de la experiencia, te aseguramos que probablemente sea más el amor el primero de los sentimientos en el que te atrape y te despidas de ella únicamente pensando en volver.
Perderse por la impresionante Acrópolis, recorrer los barrios de Plaka, Monastiraki y Anafiótika o disfrutar de un atardecer único desde el monte Licabeto, son solo algunas de las cosas que te regalará esta impresionante ciudad.
Siempre que puedas te recomendamos dedicar 2 o 3 días a conocerla, ya que aunque no lo parezca y todos los lugares de interés estén relativamente cerca unos de otros, Atenas tiene muchísimo que ver y ofrecer.

Para que puedas organizar tu viaje a la capital, en la guía de Grecia te dejamos toda la información que publicamos sobre Atenas y que te ayudará a planificar tu estancia en la ciudad.

Guía de AtenasAtenas en un díaAtenas en 2 díasAtenas en 3 díasLos 10 mejores tours y excursiones desde AtenasLos mejores free tours en Atenas gratis en españolDónde alojarse en Atenas: mejores barrios y hotelesDónde comer en Atenas: 10 restaurantes recomendados10 consejos para viajar a Atenas imprescindiblesInformación sobre Atenas en la Guía de Grecia

Yacimientos arqueológicos de Grecia

Para muchos viajeros, uno de los grandes motivos para viajar a Grecia, es conocer algunos de sus yacimientos arqueológicos más importantes como Delfos, Corinto, Epidauro o Micenas entre otros muchos.
Recorrerlos te permitirá conocer además de su fascinante historia retroceder en el tiempo y sentirte por unas horas, 3000 años atrás.

En la guía de Grecia incluimos un enlace a todos los que nosotros visitamos y que creemos, son los más importantes del país.

Antigua Corinto y coche de alquiler en GreciaVisitar Micenas en GreciaVisitar el Teatro de Epidauro en GreciaQué ver en Olimpia en GreciaVisitar el Monasterio Hosios LoukasVisitar el Oráculo de DelfosAtardecer en el Cabo Sounion en GreciaDelfos, uno de los imprescindibles en esta guía de Grecia


Ubicado en el norte de Grecia, este valle es conocido por ser el lugar en el que hace más de 7 siglos se construyeron varios monasterios, declarados Patrimonio de la Humanidad, sobre rocas a más de 600 metros de altura.
En su momento llegaron a ser 24 monasterios, aunque durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial se destruyeron algunos, quedando a día de hoy 13 monasterios, de los que únicamente se pueden visitar 6 de ellos.
Aunque hay viajeros que llegan hasta aquí desde Atenas para visitarlos en un día o hacen una parada de un día después de una ruta por Grecia Continental, nosotros te recomendamos siempre que puedas, quedarte 2 o 3 días, ya que este es uno de los lugares más mágicos y fascinantes del país, del que estamos seguros, te llevarás un recuerdo imborrable.

Para que conozcas todos los lugares que se pueden visitar y las cosas que hacer en Meteora, en la guía de Grecia te dejamos un par de posts que publicamos con todos los detalles de este impresionante lugar.

Visitar los Monasterios de Meteora en GreciaQué ver en MeteoraMeteora, uno de los lugares que no podían faltar en la guía de Grecia

Islas Griegas, un imprescindible que no puede faltar en la guía de Grecia

Divididas en siete archipiélagos, Grecia tiene 227 islas habitadas, en las que las aguas de color turquesa, los pueblos de casas blancas salpicadas de buganvillas y los acantilados imposibles son los auténticos protagonistas junto a sus amables gentes y como no, una gastronomía que te aseguramos, está entre las más deliciosas del mundo.

Sabiendo que es imposible visitarlas todas y que la mayoría de viajeros conocen 2 o 3 en su viaje, en esta guía de Grecia te dejamos un post en el que hablamos sobre cuáles son las mejores islas griegas para que puedas escoger cuál quieres visitar.

Las 10 mejores Islas Griegas10 consejos para viajar a las Islas Griegas imprescindiblesMykonos, una de las islas griegas imprescindibles


Ubicada en el archipiélago de las Cícladas, Santorini es sin lugar a dudas una de las islas más famosas del mundo además de ser una de las imágenes de postal por la que la mayoría de viajeros suspiran cuando piensan en Grecia.
Formada tras una erupción volcánica, la isla tiene actualmente forma de media luna y una orografía totalmente distinta al resto de las islas de esta zona del mundo, en la que destacan sus pueblos blancos, que parecen estar colgados en los acantilados, salpicados por las famosas cúpulas azules, que todos los viajeros ansían en sus fotos.
Si quieres conocer bien la isla, te recomendamos dedicar unos 3-4 días mínimo para poder así conocer además de los pueblos más famosos, algunos de los pueblos del interior y hacer un par de trekkings, el de Fira a Oía y el de la Roca Skaros, en Imerovigli, que te aseguramos es impresionante.

Para que puedas organizar tu visita a Santorini, en la guía de Grecia te dejamos la guía que publicamos de la isla en la que puedes encontrar posts en los que hablamos sobre los traslados, sobre los lugares que no puedes perderte en Santorini, recomendaciones sobre alojamiento, restaurantes…etc.

Guía de SantoriniQue ver y hacer en SantoriniDónde alojarse en Santorini: mejores zonas y hoteles10 restaurantes donde comer en Santorini baratoCómo ir de Atenas a Santorini (ferry o avión)Santorini, una isla imprescindible en la guía de Grecia

Mykonos, un destino que no puede faltar en la guía de Grecia

Ubicada también en el archipiélago de las Cícladas, Mykonos es conocida por su vida nocturna y sus fiestas aunque te aseguramos que esto no es solo por lo que destaca la isla. Es más, nos atrevemos a decir que este sería su punto más flojo si lo comparamos con la belleza de Chora, su capital, en la que te aseguramos, te sentirás como dentro de una foto de catálogo de agencia de viajes.
Si tenemos en cuenta todos los lugares que se pueden visitar en la isla, si es posible te recomendamos dedicar 3 días para conocer lo más importante y llevarte una impresión completa de la isla.

Para ayudarte con la organización de tu estancia en la isla, en la guía de Grecia también incluimos una guía de Mykonos, en la que incluimos artículos sobre los traslados, lugares que no puedes perderte, recomendaciones sobre alojamiento, restaurantes…etc.

Guía de MykonosQue ver en MykonosDónde alojarse en Mykonos: mejores zonas y hotelesDónde comer en Mykonos: 10 restaurantes recomendadosCómo ir de Atenas a MykonosMykonos


Conocida por ser la isla más grande de las Cícladas, Naxos es una combinación de la belleza de Santorini y Mykonos con la tradición y tranquilidad de las islas griegas menos visitadas.
Además de todos los lugares que puedes ver en la isla, entre los que destacan pueblos anclados en el tiempo y algunas playas vírgenes espectaculares, su capital es una de sus grandes joyas, con un centro histórico bellísimo y la gran puerta o Portará que se conserva del antiguo templo de Apolo, desde donde se viven unos atardeceres inolvidables.
Al igual que en el resto de islas que hemos mencionado, te recomendamos dedicar 3-4 días si quieres conocerla y disfrutarla con un poco de tranquilidad, algo que creemos, es imprescindible en un lugar como Naxos.

Para que sea más fácil organizar tu estancia en Naxos, en la guía de Grecia te dejamos un par de posts en los que hablamos sobre el traslado y sobre los lugares que no puedes perderte en la isla.

Ferry de Mykonos a Naxos en GreciaFerry de Naxos a ParosQué ver y hacer en NaxosNaxos

Paros, una isla que no puede faltar en la guía de Grecia

En pleno mar Egeo, Paros es conocida por sus bellísimos pueblos tradicionales como Naoussa y por su capital Parikia, en la que podrás disfrutar de la tradicional arquitectura griega además de como no, una gastronomía deliciosa, que se extiende por todo el país.
Como Naxos, Paros es también más tranquila que Santorini o Mykonos y aunque sus playas no son las más hermosas del mundo, algunas como Kolymbithres, son perfectas para pasar un día de relax a orillas del mar.
Nuestra recomendación es pasar 2-3 días en la isla y si tienes un día extra dedicarlo a Antiparos, una isla muy cercana, que puedes conocer perfectamente en un día.

Te dejamos estos artículos en la guía de Grecia en los que hablamos sobre el traslado a esta isla además de sobre las cosas que no puedes perderte.

Ferry de Naxos a ParosFerry de Paros a SantoriniQue ver y hacer en ParosNaoussa en Paros, uno de los pueblos más bellos de la isla

Iremos ampliando la información de la guía de Grecia a medida que vayamos visitando nuevos lugares del país.

¿Quieres organizar un viaje a Grecia?
Consíguelo aquí:

Las mejores ofertas de Vuelos a Grecia aquí

Los mejores hoteles a los mejores precios en Grecia: aquí

Reserva tu seguro de viaje con un 5% descuento aquí

Reserva los mejores tours y excursiones en Grecia en español aquí

Reserva tu traslado Aeropuerto⇆Atenas aquí

Alquila tu coche para viajar por Grecia al mejor precio aquí

Reserva el ferry para las Islas Griegas al mejor precio aquí


Curbing nearsightedness in children: Can outdoor time help?

Two children dressed in coats playing outdoors on a balance feature in a city playground with their mother watching

Turns out that when your mother told you to stop sitting near the TV or you might need glasses, she was onto something.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a growing problem worldwide. While a nearsighted child can see close objects clearly, more distant objects look blurry. Part of this growing problem, according to experts, is that children are spending too much time indoors looking at things close to them rather than going outside and looking at things that are far away.

What is nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness is very common, affecting about 5% of preschoolers, 9% of school-age children, and 30% of teens. But what worries experts is that over the last few decades its global prevalence has doubled — and during the pandemic, eye doctors have noticed an increase in myopia.

Nearsightedness happens when the eyeball is too large from front to back. Genes play a big role, but growing research shows that there are developmental factors. The stereotype of the nerd wearing glasses actually bears out; research shows that the more years one spends in school, the higher the risk of myopia. Studies also show, even more reliably, that spending time outdoors can decrease a child’s risk of developing myopia.

Why would outdoor time make a difference in nearsightedness?

While surprising, this actually makes some sense. As children grow and change, their lifestyles affect their bodies. A child who is undernourished, for example, may not grow as tall as they might have if they had better nourishment. A child who develops obesity during childhood is far more likely to have lifelong obesity. And the eyes of a child who is always looking at things close to him or her might adjust to this — and lose some ability to see far away.

Nearsightedness has real consequences. Not only can it cause problems with everyday tasks that require you to see more than a few feet away, such as school or driving, but people with myopia are at higher risk of blindness and retinal detachment. The problems can’t always be fixed with a pair of glasses.

What can parents do?

  • Make sure your child spends time outdoors regularly — every day, if possible. That’s the best way to be sure that they look at things far away. It’s also a great way to get them to be more active, get enough Vitamin D, and learn some important life skills.
  • Try to limit the amount of time your child spends close to a screen. These days, a lot of schoolwork is on screens, but children are also spending far too much of their playtime on devices rather than playing with toys, drawing, or other activities. Have some ground rules. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of entertainment media a day, and has a great Family Media Plan to help families make this happen.
  • Have your child’s vision checked regularly. Most pediatricians do regular vision screening, but it is important to remember that basic screening can miss vision problems. It’s a good idea for your child to have a full vision examination from an ophthalmologist or an optometrist by kindergarten.
  • Call your pediatrician or child’s eye doctor if you notice signs of a possible vision problem, such as
    • sitting close to the television or holding devices close to the face
    • squinting or complaining of any difficulty seeing
    • not being able to identify objects far away (when you go for walks, play I Spy and point to some far-away things!)
    • avoiding or disliking activities that involve looking close, like doing puzzles or looking at books, which can be a sign of hyperopia (farsightedness)
    • tilting their head to look at things
    • covering or rubbing an eye
    • one eye that turns inward or outward.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s vision, talk to your pediatrician.

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About the Author

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Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio View all posts by Claire McCarthy, MD


Preventable liver disease is rising: What you eat — and avoid — counts

A word cloud on fatty liver disease; risk factors, such as alcohol and high fat diet, appear in different colorsIn today’s fast-paced world, our waking hours are filled with decisions — often surrounding what to eat. After a long day, dinner could well be fast food or takeout. While you may worry about the toll food choices take on your waistline or blood pressure, as a liver specialist, I also want to put fatty liver disease on your radar.

One variant, officially called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), now affects one in four adults globally. Sometimes it progresses to extensive scarring known as cirrhosis, liver failure, and higher risk for liver cancer. The good news? Fatty liver disease can be prevented or reversed.

What is fatty liver disease?

Fatty liver disease is a condition caused by irritation to the liver. Liver tissue accumulates abnormal amounts of fat in response to that injury. Viral hepatitis, certain medicines (like tamoxifen or steroids, for example), or ingesting too much alcohol can all cause fatty liver disease.

However, NAFLD has a different trigger for fat deposits in the liver: a group of metabolic risk factors. NAFLD is most common in people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance (prediabetes), or type 2 diabetes. It is also common among people who are overweight or obese, though it is possible to develop NAFLD even if your body mass index (BMI) is normal.

What helps prevent or reverse NAFLD?

Diet can play a huge role. Because NAFLD is so closely tied to metabolic health, eating more healthfully can help prevent or possibly even reverse it. A good example of a healthful eating pattern is the Mediterranean diet.

Overweight or obesity is a common cause of NAFLD. A weight loss program that includes activity and healthy eating can help control blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Among the many healthful diet plans that help are the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist if you need help choosing a plan.

To vigorously study any diet as a treatment for fatty liver disease, researchers must control many factors. Currently, no strong evidence supports one particular diet over another. However, the research below highlights choices to promote a healthy liver.

Avoid fast food

A recent study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology linked regular fast-food consumption (20% or more of total daily calories) with fatty liver disease — especially in people who had type 2 diabetes or obesity. Fast foods tend to be high in saturated fats, added sugar, and other ingredients that affect metabolic health.

Steer clear of soft drinks and added sugars

Soft drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, or other sugar-sweetened beverages, lead directly to large increases in liver fat deposits, independent of the total calories consumed. Read labels closely for added sugars, including corn syrup, dextrose, honey, and agave.

Instead of sugary drinks, sip plain water. Black coffee or with a splash of cream is also a good pick; research suggests coffee has the potential to decrease liver scarring.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol directly damages the liver, lacks nutritional value, and may affect a healthy microbiome. If you have NAFLD, it’s best to avoid any extra cause for liver injury. We simply do not know what amount of alcohol is safe for those with fatty liver disease — even social drinking may be too much.

Eat mostly whole foods

Vegetables, berries, eggs, poultry, grass-fed meats, nuts, and whole grains all qualify, but cutting out red meat may be wise. An 18-month trial enrolled 294 people with abdominal obesity and lipid imbalances such as high triglycerides. Regular activity was encouraged, and participants were randomly assigned to one of three diets: standard healthy dietary guidelines, a traditional Mediterranean diet, or a green-Mediterranean diet. (The green-Med diet nixed red and processed meats and added green tea and a dinner replacement shake rich in antioxidants called polyphenols.)

All three groups lost some weight, although the Mediterranean diet groups lost more weight and kept it off for a longer period. Both Mediterranean diet groups also showed reduced liver fat at the end of 18 months, but liver fat decreased twice as much in the green-Med group as in the traditional Mediterranean diet group.

Healthy fats are part of a healthy diet

We all need fat. Dietary fats help your body absorb vitamins and are vital in the protection of nerves and cells. Fats also help you feel satisfied and full, so you’re less likely to overeat. Low-fat foods often substitute sugars and starches, which affect blood sugar regulation in our bodies. But all fat is not created equal.

It’s clear that Mediterranean-style diets can help decrease liver fat, thus helping to prevent or possibly reverse NAFLD. These diets are high in healthful fats, such as monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and avocados and omega-3 fats found in walnuts and oily fish like salmon and sardines.

With so many choices, it’s hard to know where to start in the healthy eating journey. Let’s strive to eat whole foods in their natural state. Our livers will thank us for it.

About the Author

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Kathleen Viveiros, MD, Contributor

Dr. Kathleen Viveiros is a clinical hepatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who sees patients in Boston and in Foxborough and Westwood, MA. She is an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her professional interests … See Full Bio View all posts by Kathleen Viveiros, MD