- By Laurel Kelly
Consumer Health: Acai berries — superfood or hype?
Acai berries: Do they have health benefits?
The acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry is a grapelike fruit harvested from acai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Like other berries, acai berries contain antioxidants and fiber. Some proponents call them a superfood, claiming they help various health concerns, including arthritis, weight loss, high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. Does research support these health claims? Learn more from Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist.
Also in today's tips ...
'Herbal viagra': Is it safe?
Be wary of any product that claims to be a natural form of Viagra. These supplements can cause dangerously low blood pressure in some men, particularly those who take nitrate medications for heart problems. Learn more from Dr. Erik Castle, a Mayo Clinic urologist.
Slideshow: Balance exercises
Balance exercises can help you maintain your balance and confidence at any age. If you're an older adult, balance exercises are especially important because they can help you prevent falls and maintain your independence. Watch this slideshow for examples of balance exercises that may keep you surefooted and safe.
Nicotine produces physical and mood-altering effects in your brain that are temporarily pleasing. These effects make you want to use tobacco and can lead to dependence. At the same time, stopping tobacco use causes withdrawal symptoms, including irritability and anxiety. While it's the nicotine in tobacco that causes nicotine dependence, the toxic effects of tobacco result from other substances in tobacco. Smokers have much higher rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer than nonsmokers. Learn more about nicotine dependence and how you can break the habit.
Dental floss versus water pick: Which is better?
A water pick, also known as an oral pulsating irrigator, is a device that aims a stream of water at your teeth. A water pick can remove food particles from your teeth and may reduce bleeding and gum disease, but it isn't generally considered a substitute for brushing and flossing. Learn more from Dr. Thomas Salinas, a Mayo Clinic prosthodontist.