It’s always a shock when you hear that someone relatively young develops cancer. Dustin Diamond, the actor and comedian who acted in Saved by the Bell, died several weeks after learning he had stage 4 small cell carcinoma of the lung. It must have come as a shock to people who knew him, especially since he appeared relatively healthy!

Small cell carcinoma of the lung has a grim prognosis, and the fact that he was stage 4 suggests that his cancer was diagnosed at a late stage, where it had already spread outside the lungs to other organs such as…

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When you think of natural, a vision of green things, fresh air, sunshine, and all things healthy might come to mind. It’s a word with a positive connotation, so it’s no wonder manufacturers love placing this word on food and personal care products, often with a graphic of a tree or leaf.

They hope that people will look more favorably upon their product when they say those words. Plus, you’ll be more likely to toss it in your grocery cart!

The word natural may be in the ingredient list of packaged products too. If you look closely at the ingredients…

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You know you should eat less sugar, but you still can’t adapt to drinking coffee or tea without sugar. Sugar does nothing positive for your body. It’s nothing more than empty calories devoid of nutrients. That’s why you people are intrigued by alternatives to sugar that contain few or no calories.

One source of no-calorie sweetness is artificial sweeteners, but they have their drawbacks. In fact, some studies suggest that they’re as unhealthy as sugar because they may disrupt hunger signals and alter the gut microbiome in a way that increases the risk of insulin resistance.

More popular these days…

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Are you a broccoli lover? Hopefully, you’re not a hater like President George H.W. Bush who reportedly despised the crunchy green stalks. Nutritionists wax poetic about the health benefits of broccoli and it tops the list of most nutritious produce. What’s not to love about this green, crunchy vegetable?

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, a class rich in compounds that show cancer preventive properties in the laboratory. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and a noteworthy source of fiber and antioxidant compounds.

In terms of taste appeal, broccoli is a bit polarizing. In some surveys, it…

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What’s your waist-to-hip ratio? It matters more than you think. Knowing this value is more than an aesthetic issue: it’s an important marker of health risk. In fact, your waist-to-hip ratio says something about your risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Why This Ratio Matters

You have two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous is the superficial kind you can pinch between your fingers while visceral fat is deep belly fat that builds up inside your pelvic cavity and wraps around organs such as your liver. …

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Are you getting enough vitamin D and are you getting it in the best form to maximize its benefits?

Vitamin D plays a number of key roles in human health. Although it’s called a vitamin, vitamin D behaves more like a hormone by affecting proteins that control bone build-up and breakdown and immune cells that regulate your immune system.

Vitamin D is an immune modulator, meaning it boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off foreign invaders like viruses but also helps calm an overactive immune system that leads to inflammation.

Low Vitamin D and Disease Risk

Why should we be concerned about vitamin D? Low…

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Are you afraid of sleeping in the dark? Don’t be!

The dark may have frightened you as a child, but slumbering in a pitch-black room without a sliver of light coming through is a smart decision for your health.

In fact, research suggests that sleeping in a pitch-black room could lower your risk for cancer and even improve your metabolic health. Plus, animal studies suggest that sleeping in the dark without external sources of light helps with weight control.

Sleeping in the Dark Impacts a Hormone Called Melatonin

The benefits of sleeping in the dark have to do with its impact on melatonin, a hormone the pineal gland, a…

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Are you the picture of good health, so much so that everyone wants to know your secrets? If you feel good and have a good energy level and the stamina to do the things you enjoy, that’s a good sign — but what if you had some idea of how vibrant and healthy your really are?

Believe it or not, there are simple health and fitness tests you can do at home . These tests will give you some idea of your level of fitness and how likely you are to survive the next decade.

In fact, researchers have come…

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“If you walk most days for 30 minutes or more, you’ll get in better shape and drop a few pounds.

How many times have you heard that? So, wanting to do the “right thing”, you lace up your exercise shoes, grab a water bottle, and hit the pavement. Weeks later you step on the scale and nothing has changed, or even worse, you’ve gained weight. What could be more frustrating?

If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone. It’s a VERY common problem. There are two main reasons why you’re not losing weight from your walking program. One is you’re overcompensating…

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Can the word soda co-exist with the word healthy? Maybe healthy is too strong of a word but, yes, there are “better for you” soda alternatives out there. Diet sodas, just because they contain no sugar, don’t fit the bill.

Why don’t diet sodas get a clean bill of health? Research suggests artificial sweeteners in these beverages alter gut bacteria in a way that contributes to obesity. Therefore, you might be substituting one poison for another if you drink diet soft drinks.

How bad are soft drinks for your health? The non-diet ones contain high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that…

Kristie Leong M.D.

I’m a family physician who believes in the power of lifestyle to transform health and prevent disease. Food is the best medicine!

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