A little more than a year ago, my eye doctor prescribed new disposable contact lenses. My insurance, he explained, would pay for only one six-month supply per year.
"I'll just take six months' worth then," I told him.
I called to reorder just last week. Since it's been more than a year, my insurance will pay for my next "6-month" supply, which I hope will last me another year or so.
Sacrificing my eye health in the name of saving a few bucks? Hardly. I'm simply following the advice I received from Keith Baratz, M.D., an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic. If a contact lens is approved for continuous day and night wear for 2 weeks, he said, it can last twice as long if you wear it only during the day. (Read The Truth about Caloriesto discover even more need-to-know health and nutrition advice.)
When it comes to staying healthy, much of what we accept as gospel is actually heresy. It's what Mom said. It's what our friends do. And everything sounds so reasonable. But some of it is completely unnecessary. Here are 8 more items you can cross off your to-do list.
See Your Dentist Twice A Year
This advice originally came from an old toothpaste ad. There was no science behind it, and there still isn't. A 2003 review looked at 29 studies and found no conclusive evidence supporting a need to go every 6 months. If your choppers (and gums!) are healthy, once a year is enough to catch any developing problems, says James Bader, D.D.S., M.P.H., a research professor at the University of North Carolina school of dentistry.
Just don't wait longer than that: A study presented at the American Heart Association meeting last year found that having your teeth cleaned by a professional once a year lowers your risk of heart attack by 24 percent and stroke by 13 percent.
Don't Eat After 8 P.M.
Calories can't tell time. There's no difference between the 6:30 a.m. and 8:20 p.m. kinds, says Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Plus, hitting the sack hungry can disrupt sleep patterns. In fact, new research suggests you should eat right before bed if you exercise at night, or if you're over 60. A protein-packed meal--or even a whey protein shake--provides more fuel for your body to synthesize muscle. It also helps combat the effects of age-related muscle loss. (Have you found it hard to stick to your workouts? Don't worry--the No Gym, No Excuses Workout will help you incinerate fat and pack on muscle without lifting a weight.)
How much protein? A recent study in the American Journal of Physiology found that elderly men who ate 35 grams of whey protein experienced more muscle growth than those who ate 10 or 20 grams.
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