benefits of eating fish exceed risks for most people: If you're confused about whether it's better to eat fish for its many nutritional virtues, or shun it because it may contain mercury, here's some clarity from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: For most kids and adults the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks. Pregnant women and very young children need to be more cautious, however. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna (albacore, or "white,'' has more mercury), salmon, pollock and catfish. A variety of small fish is best. Fish sticks and fast-food sandwiches are commonly made from fish that are low in mercury, the EPA says.To learn more about mercury in fish, including species from local waters, go to www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish.
pregnancy weight gain: How much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy? It depends on how much she weighs before she gets pregnant. Starting a pregnancy too heavy can set up mom and baby for diabetes and heart disease. For the first time since 1990, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine has established new recommendations, based on the mom's prepregnancy Body Mass Index:
Underweight (BMI is less than 18.5): Should gain 28-40 pounds
Normal weight (BMI is 18.5-24.9): 25-35 pounds
Overweight (BMI is 25.0-29.9): 15-25 pounds
Obese (BMI 30 or greater): 11-20 pounds
If you're having twins, you can gain a bit more: 37-54 pounds for a normal weight woman. Best case scenario: Getting to a normal weight before you conceive. That, plus staying in the pregnancy weight gain guidelines, gives you the best chance of a baby who is neither undersized nor oversized.
Protect your teeth from movie munchies
The Fourth of July weekend is always a big time for moviegoers, and with new flicks from Johnny Depp and the Ice Age gang in theaters, this one is no exception.
You already know to leave the fake butter off the popcorn and go for the small size, but there's another reason to munch with care: your teeth.
Above all, skip the hard little kernels at the bottom of the bag.
"The unpopped kernels have such strength, one bite can fracture teeth and fillings," said Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer and senior vice president of Delta Dental of Michigan.
• Have a meal before the movie to avoid overindulging.
• Choose chocolate over long-lasting hard candies that cause an acid attack on the teeth.
• Avoid gummy or sticky treats that may uproot fillings and damage dental work.
New product alert: For fizzy-water fans looking for something different, R.W. Knudsen Family has come out with a new line of organic sparkling waters with no sugar, no calories and nothing artificial. What Sparkling Essence waters do have is three unusual varieties — mint, cucumber and blueberry — in addition to the familiar lemon. We tried them all, and found the cool, refreshing mint to be the easy winner. The lemon was a cut above others we've tried, with a truer lemon flavor than most. The blueberry was kind of blah — sort of like a blue snow cone without the sweetness. And although we love a slice of cucumber in ice water, the Knudsen cuke was a bit strong for our taste. The waters come in sexy little 10.5-ounce silvery-blue cans, sleek, but petite in our hot climate. Expect to pay $4 for a 4-pack at stores including Nature's Finest Foods in St. Petersburg.
Photos prove dietitian is a healthy eater: If you've ever wondered whether dietitians practice what they preach, here's one who proves it every meal. Cristin Dillon-Jones, 27, at right, snaps photos of each meal and posts them with nutrition information and commentary, on her "Eat Like Me'' blog (www.self.com/fooddiet/blogs/eatlikeme/) on Self magazine's Web site. Dillon-Jones' diet is reassuringly ordinary, and that's what makes her blog useful to those who need a visual reminder of what a healthy diet looks like. Keeping a food log is often recommended for weight control. If you think pictures might make food journaling more fun, try joining Dillon-Jones and others who snap before they eat. She uses a basic Kodak digital camera; others swear by their handy cell phone cameras.
Times staff, wire report