Add flavor and nutrition to your meals with colorful veggie noodles. (Photo by Mike Garten)

Start living a healthier life with these easy tips and tricks from our ‘Do’ Diet.

Do: A Noodle Swap!

Veggie curls are fiber — and nutrient-packed, and have a fraction of the calories of pasta — just 20 to 100 (versus 200) per cup! Look for frozen versions, or spool ’em out at home: The GH Kitchen Appliances Lab likes the Inspiralizer ($25, Add sauce and protein for meals in minutes.

GH Nutritionist-Approved Pick: Green Giant Veggie Spirals (in the frozen aisle).

Do: Throw in the Towel

… into the washer, that is. Towels can breed bacteria and other microbes, which can lead to infectious diseases, according to new research. When you dry your hands, germs (and even fecal matter, if you wash too quickly) get transferred onto the towel. “Then, bacteria like E. coli and salmonella can grow because of the high moisture content,” said Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the University of Arizona. To stay safe, use these tips from Carolyn Forte, director of the GH Cleaning Lab:

Dry ’em out: Hang towels on rods (not hooks) for faster drying, which will help prevent mildew.

Switch ’em up: “Bath towels should be changed about every three days, and hand towels every one to two days.”

Wash in hot water: “Many new machines have sanitizing cycles that ensure the proper cycle length and temperature to kill germs,” she said. Dry at least 45 minutes before folding.

Do: Eat to Lower Your Risk

Making your own meals is a money-saver, and cooking at home most of the time can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, researchers have found. That may be because you avoid restaurants’ super-sized portions, and you’re likely to cook with less salt and unhealthy fats — too much of these is associated with higher odds of developing hypertension, diabetes and other diseases, said study co-author Qi Sun, M.D., Sc.D., associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Pro tip: Prep weekday dishes in advance to freeze, and then nuke them after work if you’re too pooped to cook.

Do: Be Wary of Essential Oils

They smell nice, but with the exception of lavender (for sleep) and peppermint (for calming), there isn’t enough research to know if they live up to the wellness hype. Still, “when used in moderation, essential oils are thought to be relatively safe,” said Melinda Ring, M.D., director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern. Unless your doc says otherwise:

  • Don’t use on or near infants, pets or pregnant women.
  • Dilute with gentler oils, such as coconut or avocado, for topical use.
  • Avoid the sun after applying citrus oils, as these make you more susceptible to sunburn.
  • Don’t ingest them. Some are toxic.

Do: Sleep with Your Pet

There’s no need to banish Fluffy to the basement! Forty-one percent of those who let their pets into the bedroom reported that they slept as well as or better than without them, according to a study from the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic. (Only a fifth said their critters woke them up.) Having your pet nearby offers a sense of comfort and security, said study author Lois Krahn, M.D. Pets on or in the bed, however, can be more disruptive, and “having multiple pets in the bedroom increases the potential for disruption and is not advisable,” she said.


Ask the GH Beauty Lab

Your questions on healthy skin, hair and more are answered by our resident experts.

Q: Why does gray hair have a different texture?

Dr. Mehmet Oz says: “The wiry feel silver strands can have, which can differ from your regular texture, actually coincides with the gray color itself. As hair loses its color, it also loses its follicle support system, which can make it more brittle and prone to shedding. There’s also a theory that it has a drier feel because your follicles produce less oil as you age.”

Lab Lowdown: If you have fine gray hair, use a lightweight leave-in conditioning spray (in addition to regular conditioner) to hydrate and soften. For medium to thick hair, try a richer, more nourishing deep-conditioning treatment mask instead of conditioner.

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.


Nickelodeon PAW PATROL Deluxe Marshall Hat with flashlight, sold at Spirit Halloween stores nationwide from September 2015 through November 2017 for about $13.

The batteries in the flashlight can overheat, causing the flashlight to become hot, posing burn and fire hazards. Consumers should immediately take the flashlight that was sold with the hat away from children, stop using it, remove the batteries and dispose of the flashlight and contact Spirit Halloween for a full refund. Customers will be asked to provide a photo of the tag located under the ear in the hat. Consumers can contact Spirit Halloween toll-free at 866-586-0155 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, email at or online at and click on Product Recall at the bottom of the home page, or http:/ for more information.

BMW 2018 Rolls-Royce Ghost
The head air bags in these vehicles may have been damaged during vehicle assembly, possibly causing the head air bags to not fully inflate upon deployment. If the head air bag does not inflate properly in a crash, it can increase the risk of injury. None of the affected vehicles has been delivered to customers; therefore, owner notification letters will not be sent. Rolls-Royce dealers will inspect and replace the head air bags, as necessary, for free. Owners may contact Rolls-Royce customer service at 877-877-3735.

© Hearst Communications Inc.; Distributed by King Features Syndicate