Dealing with digestive problems like gas or bloating? You may need to reduce fructose, or fruit sugar, in your diet, says Johns Hopkins doctor Linda Lee.

And while fruits are overall beneficial, foods like apples, pears and mangos are all high in fructose, so they may contribute to gas.

Berries and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit contain less fructose, making them easier to tolerate and less likely to cause gas. Bananas are also low-fructose and are fiber-rich and contain inulin, a substance which stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

For more details, check out 5 Foods to Improve Your Digestion.


Anchor lead: Is vitamin E acetate the culprit in vaping deaths and hospitalizations? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Vitamin E acetate is a chemical used to cut THC liquid for vaping purposes, with a recent study finding it is almost all lung samples from people who were hospitalized with vaping related lung injury, known by the acronym EVALI. Panagis Galiatsatos, a lung expert at Johns Hopkins, says that’s just one of the many chemicals we really don’t know much about in all vaping products that were touted as safer than combustible cigarettes.

Galiatsatos: E-cigarettes came along with that promise without the science to back it up at all. That public health realm that it was shoved into has blinded us to this youth epidemic use of e-cigarettes where now, we have this youth usage of products that we have no idea about. The vitamin E acetate. They’re using mom and pop shop vaporing products and no one has tested or regulated. We’ve unleased the failure at the moment of a new generation of patients that are addicted to nicotine products that we don’t know the long term consequences. We know a lot about the immediate consequences but to me that’s still the tip of the iceberg.  :33

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


Anchor lead: Just in time for the new year, a ban on most flavorings for vaping is poised to take effect, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Mint, mango, bubblegum…these are just a few of the flavorings that won’t be used in vaping products shortly, with an eye toward stemming the epidemic of youth vaping. Yet Panagis Galiatsatos, a lung expert at Johns Hopkins, says current legislation falls far short of where the regulations should be.

Galiatsatos: You’re comparing them to the safety of cigarettes causing lung cancer. This was an exposure of a variable to cigarette for decades. We don’t even begin screening patients for lung cancer until the age of 55. They’re comparing themselves to a product that we actually have no data to show that its safer. What we can do is extrapolate from the environmental cancer institute out of the NCI saying, yeah, these levels of toxins could cause cancer. We’ve never seen them that high but there’s reason to believe it. These products also have a high amount of nicotine concentration, far more than the traditional cigarette.  :29

Galiatsatos notes that the study that would be needed to support claims made by e-cigarette makers will never be done: one comparing smoking traditional cigarettes directly with vaping, and following people for several years to assess which diseases emerge. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


Thinking of trying melatonin, and wondering how much to take? Johns Hopkins sleep specialist Luis Buenaver says that when it comes to using melatonin for occasional insomnia, less is more. He recommends you start with 1 to 3 milligrams, two hours before bedtime. If it helps, he says, using melatonin supplements every night for a month or two is safe for most people.

If you’re traveling, try taking melatonin two hours before bedtime in your destination’s time zone to ease jet lag. Buenaver says if the supplement doesn’t help after a week or two, stop using it and consult your health care provider. Talk to your doctor if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, and avoid melatonin altogether if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or living with an autoimmune disorder, depression or seizures.

For more details, check out Melatonin for Sleep: Does It Work?

"Flexibility and stretching are an important part of your overall fitness, but did you know that they can help set the stage for better heart health?
Kerry Stewart, an exercise physiologist at Johns Hopkins, says that although stretching workouts don’t directly contribute to cardiovascular fitness, they benefit your bones and muscles. This helps keep you flexible and free from cramping and joint pain during aerobic activities.

Stewart also says that greater flexibility means you’re less likely to get hurt while doing your aerobic workouts and strength training. That’s because flexibility exercises improve your balance, which will help prevent falls and injuries. For maximum benefits, stretch every day before and after your other exercise, and consider adding a tai chi or yoga session to your weekly routine.

For more tips, check out 3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health.


Anchor lead: How can long term survivors of cancer thrive? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Women who’ve survived breast cancer for five to ten years are at higher risk for heart and liver diseases, a recent study found. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says there are many strategies underway to try to help.

Nelson: There are two general approaches I think to complications related to treatment, and one of is can treatment be altered so that it maintains its effectiveness but less likely to lead to a long term complication? Now that we have people living a very long time after a cancer diagnosis these long term considerations are more important. The other is if we can’t ameliorate those by changing the treatment up front, can we be aware to use early detection, to use the right tools whether it’s cholesterol lowering or what have you, to reduce the risk of future problems.   :31

Nelson says engaging your primary care physician in vigilance related to possible long term consequences of cancer treatment is key, as well as lifestyle interventions such as exercise and a heart healthy diet. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


"You’re pregnant, and you’re hungry all the time. You might feel like saying, “Hey, I’m eating for two, pass the ice cream. And the chips. And those other chips.”

But while occasional indulgences are certainly fine, snacks are not created equal. And nutrition shouldn’t go out the window during pregnancy — for your sake and your baby’s.

So consider the snacking advice offered by Johns Hopkins nutritionist Diane Vizthum.

She says to think about what craving you want your snack to fill. Looking for something sweet? Crunchy? Salty?

Once you’ve determined that, do some creative swapping. Instead of diving spoon first into a pint of ice cream, try a fruit-filled yogurt smoothie. And those chips? Step away and reach for beans. Yep: Roasted and lightly salted beans can be your secret hunger weapon.

For more details, check out "5 Snack Foods to Eat While Pregnant".