Stay in shape to keep swimmers swimming 

In 1974, at age 60, Jack LaLanne swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, handcuffed and shackled, towing a 1,000-pound boat. That’s mucho macho! Fortunately you don’t have to go to such extremes to be a healthy guy with healthy swimmers. But if you’re packin’ even a few extra pounds (around 74 percent of guys in North America are overweight), your swimmers could use some help!

A new study from Stanford University found that the larger a man’s waist circumference and the higher his body mass index, the lower his semen level, and therefore his sperm count. Men with a healthy BMI (somewhere between 18.5 to 24.9) typically ejaculate about 3.3 milliliters of sperm-containing semen. Men with a higher BMI produce less semen for sperm to swim in — around 2.8 milliliters. And you can get only so many swimmers into that size pool.

So, to make the pool (and your sperm count) bigger, here’s what you need to do:

1. Eat 300-500 fewer calories a day. That equals about 1 American beer (145), a chocolate chip cookie (160) and one cup of sugary cereal (110) with half-cup of whole milk (75). And eliminate the Five Food Felons.

2. Get sweaty! The most-effective, least-expensive way is a walking routine with interval training. So put on your walking shoes and walk 100 steps a minute for 10-15 minutes, then go for 2½ minutes of intense walking at 130 steps per minute. Repeat as often as you can.

HEARTBURN AND ULCER MEDS BURN B-12

Joe Namath. Terry Bradshaw. Roger Staubach. Ken Stabler. These NFL superstars wore the number 12 and, depending on who you were rooting for, that number could be associated with some pretty bad cases of heartburn and stomachaches.

Ironically, you can lose your No. 12 — that’s B-12, a vitamin essential for making healthy blood and nerve cells, DNA and preventing megaloblastic anemia — if you’re taking a proton pump inhibitor to quell chronic heartburn or an H2RA (histamine 2 receptor antagonist) to treat a peptic ulcer. And if you take either of those meds plus the oral diabetes medication metformin, look out: 10 percent to 30 percent of folks on metformin alone become B-12-deficient.

This new health alert is the result of a recent study that found taking PPIs and H2RAs for two or more years can cause a serious B-12 deficiency, which can lead to irreversible brain damage.

Curbing junk-food cravings

Not long ago we saw a headline that perked up our spirits. It read, “Doughnut chain’s next-year forecast falls short.” Healthier days ahead, right? Wrong. Further reading revealed the fried-dough seller’s profits actually grew by 34 percent. It was just that financial forecasters thought they would do even better!

We know how hard it is to go cold turkey, and we want to help you get over your junk-food addiction as fast as you can. Try these three tricks.

Trick No. 1: Schedule snacks two to three hours after each meal. Then you won’t get blindsided by fat and sugar cravings — that’s what a fast-food addiction is, after all. You can block those urges by eating plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit (no sugar added) or some lean protein, such as sliced turkey. This keeps blood sugar levels steady, easing cravings and helping you lose weight!

Trick No. 2: Become a label reader. Stay clear of anything with added sugars or syrups, trans or saturated fats. And beware of power-energy-nutrition bars and energy drinks: They may contain taurine, sugar, excess fats and sometimes alcohol.

Trick No. 3: Choose smart sweets. Dried or fresh fruit give you the sugar boost you’re looking for and benefit your bones and cardiovascular system. Nuts are loaded with protein and healthy, appetite-satisfying fats.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

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