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    Housecall: Prebiotics, probiotics and your health

adults, parents sitting at a family dinner table with daughter, little girl.THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Prebiotics, probiotics and your health
You are what you eat. Or more accurately, you are what you feed the trillions of little critters that live in your gut. These organisms create a micro-ecosystem called the microbiome. And though you don't really notice it's there, it plays an oversized role in your health, and can affect your mood and behavior. Here's what you need to know about taking care of your microbiome with prebiotics and probiotics.

How a sleep diary can transform how you feel
Are you one of the 3 in 10 U.S. adults who don't get enough sleep? To learn what's keeping you up at night and leaving you feeling run-down all day, try keeping a sleep diary for a few weeks. Reviewing this information on your own may reveal some unexpected sleep barriers. Reviewing your diary with a health care provider will help you work together to improve your sleep habits and boost your overall health and resiliency.

Can cinnamon lower blood sugar?
Some research suggests that cinnamon may be helpful as a supplement to regular diabetes treatment in people with Type 2 diabetes. While more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine how cinnamon supplementation could lead to these benefits, one theory is that cinnamon increases insulin action. Learn more from Dr. M. Regina Castro, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist.

How common is sexual transmission of hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is transmitted primarily by exposure to blood containing the hepatitis C virus. The risk of sexual transmission is low if you are in a monogamous relationship with a partner who has hepatitis C. The risk increases significantly, however, if you have HIV. Also, the risk of transmission is higher if you have multiple short-term sexual relationships with partners who have hepatitis C. Learn more from Dr. Michael Picco, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.

Integrative approaches to treating pain
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Hoarding disorder
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Pork tenderloin with apples and balsamic vinegar
Sauteed zucchini coins
Steak with chimichurri sauce
Soba noodle stir-fry with coconut curry sauce

No pain, no gain? No way!
When it comes to exercise, the "No pain, no gain" mantra is bad advice. Exercise shouldn't hurt. At most, you may feel a little muscle soreness when you do a new workout or activity. If you feel pain, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath during exercise, stop. You may be pushing yourself too hard.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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