Low-carb diet controls indigestion
Q. Years ago, I was overweight and had high blood pressure. So my doctor put me on a diet. When I reached a plateau, the doctor told me to cut out bread. It worked. I lost the desired amount and my blood pressure normalized.
During this diet, I found that I could eat corn or wheat chips in place of bread and continue to lose weight. I love them, so I ate lots.
Looking back, I began having indigestion about the same time, though I didn't make the connection. This indigestion occurred nearly every evening for several years.
Recently, I developed borderline high blood sugar, and my doctor recommended that I cut down on carbohydrates. I cut out the chips completely, and my indigestion disappeared. I don't mean it diminished -- I mean it totally stopped. I have not had indigestion since.
A. You are not the first person to discover that a low-carb diet could control indigestion. We have heard from several others with similar experiences.
The usual advice for avoiding heartburn or indigestion is to cut down on high-fat foods. Perhaps the fat in your chips was contributing to your indigestion as well.
Q. I saw something in your column on the usage of cinnamon for high cholesterol. I am 65 years old (female), and my total cholesterol is 240, my triglycerides are 42, and my HDL cholesterol is 105. My doctor tells me not to worry about it.
I can't eat any healthier, and I exercise at least three times a week. I would like to give the cinnamon a try. Can you tell me more about it?
A. Although there is some animal research to suggest that cinnamon may lower cholesterol, we don't think you need to try it. With your low triglycerides and high HDL cholesterol, we side with your doctor.
Your ratio of total to HDL cholesterol is fabulous -- 2.3. Anything below 4.5 is considered good. Lowering your total cholesterol might reduce the amount of good HDL cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream.
We are sending you our Guide to Heart Health, with a chart describing target levels of LDL, HDL and total cholesterol as well as how to calculate the ratio.
Q. My daughter was recently diagnosed with ringworm. Friends have suggested she treat it by putting bleach on it. This seems harmful to the skin.
Others suggested clear nail polish. Does either of these work, or are there other home remedies that are effective? (I read online about the use of walnut shells.)
A. Ringworm is not caused by worms, but rather by a fungal infection that invades the skin. Anti-fungal cream (clotrimazole, miconazole) twice a day for a week or two should clear it up.
Do not use bleach or clear nail polish on the ringworm infection. Bleach is too toxic, and nail polish will not eradicate the fungus.
One reader recounted her success as a teenager rubbing a spot of ringworm with the inside of a black-walnut hull. Black walnut has traditionally been used for treating ringworm, perhaps because it contains a compound, called juglone, with anti-fungal properties.
XIn their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org.
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