Q: What’s your take on whether or not it makes a difference if we wear masks — indoors, outdoors, with friends and/or strangers?
— Jessie G., Plano, Texas
A: We’re certain masks are an incredibly helpful way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They’re needed whether you’re indoors or outside, visiting with family or friends, or having dinner at a restaurant — in or out — and are distanced from strangers. (You wear your mask when not eating or if you go inside to use the restroom, for example). Let’s look at the facts:
1. Masks substantially reduce the amount of virus that someone who’s infected may spread and reduce the infiltration into your nose, eyes and mouth of the virus in droplets. Plus, a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that many folks who wear masks but become infected end up having a lower viral load and a mild or asymptomatic case of COVID-19.
2. People who are asymptomatic can put people in jeopardy unintentionally if they don’t wear a mask. A new study published in PLOS Medicine says around 20% of cases of COVID-19 are asymptomatic. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that even among folks who are symptomatic, 50% of the time COVID-19 is transmitted to others before symptoms appear.
3. If there were enough N95 masks — they block more than 99% of droplets and 95% of aerosolized virus — we’d say use ‘em. But for some reason, the Defense Production Act hasn’t been invoked to make an adequate supply available for frontline workers, let alone everyday folks. So, we suggest you use surgical or cloth masks. Researchers tested 11 homemade fabric masks and found “two layers of highly permeable fabric, such as T-shirt cloth, blocks droplets with an efficiency (greater than 94%) similar to that of non-N95 medical/surgical masks, while being approximately twice as breathable.” Remember: Wash them after each use.
P.S. On the other hand, don’t fall for KN95’s — over 80% of these fail to be better than cloth masks.
Q: I am ready to change my life and my health. What’s the best nutritional advice you can give me?
— Lemar P., Memphis
A: We have been talking about the enormous benefits of eating omega-3-rich salmon and sea trout, a plant-centered Mediterranean-style diet and intermittent fasting for years. That advice is integrated into all of our You Docs books and “What to Eat When,” the “What to Eat When Cookbook” and Dr. Mike’s new book that’s slated to come out October 2021, “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code to Be Younger Today and Even Younger Tomorrow.”
Now a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology confirms our info. The researchers from the U.S. and Europe explain when and what you need to eat to provide your heart maximum protection from clogged blood vessels, heart attack, stroke and related health challenges such as dementia.
They did a massive review of available data and concluded that a Pesco-Mediterranean diet “is ideal for optimizing cardiovascular health.” The diet consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and extra-virgin olive oil with fish/seafood and fermented dairy products (kefir, yogurt). They recommend drinking water, coffee and tea (no added flavors, sweeteners or whole milk/cream). And they saw that the most benefits come if you also fast for 12 to 16 hours a day. For example, that means eating dinner at 7 p.m. and then your first meal the next day between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Pesco-Mediterranean’s heart-healthy powers even beat other healthy diet styles such as semi-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian and vegan. That’s because, the study suggests, the omega-3s in fish such as wild salmon and ocean trout (never fried) reduce the risk of fatal and nonfatal heart disease. And when combined with the anti-inflammatory powers of a plant-based diet and the elimination of red meats and ultra-processed foods, you’ve super-powered your overall health. So, what’s for dinner?