Serve a double-duty, breath-freshening appetizer like this tasty ginger dip. (Photo by Mike Garten)

Need-to-know nutrition, health and fitness findings to help you feel flat-out fantastic.


Bad-Breath Buster

’Tis the season for close contact at holiday parties, and here’s an Altoids alternative: ginger. Aside from this root’s ability to soothe nausea and headaches, German researchers recently discovered that a specific compound found in fresh ginger called 6-gingerol stimulates an enzyme in saliva that’s responsible for breaking down substances that cause stinky breath (ahem, onion dip). They also found that 6-gingerol could decrease the lingering aftertaste of certain foods and beverages, even coffee. So when you hit your next holiday shindig, snag any hors d’oeuvres with the ingredient, like the crab bites topped with pickled ginger. If you’re hosting, do your guests a little favor and serve a ginger-centric dish, like a vinaigrette dip.

Ginger Vinaigrette with Veggies

  • 1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Vegetables, for dipping

1. In a food processor, pulse carrots, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar until carrots are finely chopped.

2. With processor running, slowly add oil until fully incorporated (add water to adjust consistency as necessary). Serve with vegetables for dipping. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.


Fly Past Airport Bugs

As you do the TSA shuffle through security, you’re at risk of picking up more than the wrong bag. The trays people put phones and belts in were the germiest of the often-touched surfaces researchers swabbed, according to a recent study published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases. Half had traces of viruses that cause the common cold and the flu. Wash your hands after going through security, and choose your drying method wisely: Another recent study found that air dryers can stir up bathroom bacteria and deposit it on your mitts. Researchers say most of these bacteria won’t harm someone with a healthy immune system, but if there’s a towel option, that’s the better choice.


Holiday Sanity Savers

Hopefully there won’t be a crisis worthy of a hotline call, but this time of year is extra stressful for many people. That’s where warmlines come in: These free phone services are for people who aren’t in an emergency but could benefit from a trained ear. “Those who call may be feeling overwhelmed and struggling with anxiety or loneliness and need someone to listen,” says Rebecca Spirito Dalgin, Ph.D., an associate professor of counseling and human services at the University of Scranton. A warmline, on which you speak to a layperson who also has struggled with mental health issues and is trained in skills such as empathic listening and coping strategies, won’t replace traditional therapy. But one of Dalgin’s recent studies showed that paired with therapy, a warmline could help boost quality of life, reduce feelings of isolation and prevent issues from escalating. It also may be helpful when a therapist isn’t available (say, after hours or on weekends). To find a local warmline, talk to your mental-health provider or search for “warmlines” online.


Speed-Cleaning Solutions: Party Mishaps, Averted!

Keep your cool next time you entertain with these must-know tips from our Cleaning Lab experts.

Pick up broken glass with sliced bread. Hear a glass shatter in the other room mid-party? Don’t panic. Sweep up what you can, then gently press a slice of bread onto the floor to grab super-tiny shards your vacuum or broom might miss.

Polish silver in seconds. Shine silver fast with GH Seal star Weiman Silver Wipes ($7). Premoistened and ready to go, the wipes are neat and easy to use, and they dissolve tarnish fast. In a time crunch? Spruce up just the pieces you know you’ll be using.

Remove price stickers like magic. Tackle annoying price tags on frames, mirrors and knickknacks: Spray each sticker with laundry prewash spray, rub a little to dissolve the glue, then scrape it off with your fingernail or an old credit card. No residue!


Create a pre-spill barrier. Spritz your dining-room seat cushions with a fabric protectant like Scotchgard ($10), and iron cloth napkins with spray starch to help the fabric repel accidental spills — or at least make them easier to remove.

Always have the essentials. Keep a spray bottle of cold water and clean cloths on hand to dissolve and blot carpet spots. And get an instant stain remover like Tide to Go ($4) — a GH Seal star! — for clothing. The faster you tackle stains, the better chance you have of removing them.

Get a top-tested wine eraser. A Lab favorite, Wine Away (from $7) worked wonders on red wine stains in our tests and was easier than others to rinse from carpet.

Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


LILLEbaby Active series baby carriers, sold at and from September 2018 through October 2018 for about $160.

The sliding chest-clip strap can detach from the shoulder strap, posing a fall hazard to the child in the carrier. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled carriers and contact LILLEbaby at 855-554-5531 to receive a free replacement baby carrier and a full refund.

2019 Kia Forte sedans equipped with LED headlights

The headlights may not have been manufactured with the correct low-beam aiming, which could reduce driver visibility and increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect the headlight aiming and replace the headlights, as necessary, for free. Kia will begin notifying owners Nov. 30. Owners can call the automaker at 800-333-4542 to learn more.

© Hearst Communications Inc.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate