The Most Googled Health Questions Of 2019, Answered

mbg Editorial Assistant By Christina Coughlin
mbg Editorial Assistant
Christina Coughlin is an editorial assistant at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in psychology and music.
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The internet is an ever-growing treasure trove of information. From questions like "Who is the actor in Little Women?" to "How long does the flu last?" people rely on Google for answers. We turn to our browsers when we have medical questions, so much so, there's a term for it: "Dr. Google." 

With that being said, here are some of the top health-related questions that Google received in 2019:

1. How to lower blood pressure.

Here at mbg, we're all about functional nutrition and love to look for any way to treat health problems in the most natural way possible. While it's important to always speak to a doctor first and take medication if your hypertension is a serious health risk, here are some foods to eat as a simple way of reducing blood pressure:

Beet Juice: According to Michael Murray, N.D., "The decrease in blood pressure is due to the chemical formation of nitrite from the dietary nitrates in the juice. Once in the general circulation, nitrite can be converted to nitric oxide [NO] by the cells that line blood vessels. NO is a powerful dilator of blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure."

Berries: "Berries are rich in polyphenols and vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation in arteries. Two servings of berries a day for eight weeks reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people who had mild hypertension. Those who had higher blood pressure levels at the beginning of the study showed the most reductions. Incorporate a variety of berries into your diet—in smoothies, snacks, or salads. Frozen berries are earth's natural ice pops!" —Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN

Flaxseeds: Zibdeh also recommends flaxseeds. "Flaxseeds aren't just great for their high-fiber content, as one study showed that people with high blood pressure who ate 30 grams of milled flaxseed a day for six months reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 and 7 points. That's a pretty big deal!" 

Garlic: "Several studies found that taking garlic powders and extracts for one to three months can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high or normal blood pressure." 

Bonus: A recent study found that mindfulness practices were linked to lower blood pressure in adults with hypertension.

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2. What is keto?

This question was not a surprise, as the keto diet seemed to take over the wellness world this year. According to mbg contributor Kristi Storoschuk, "At its simplest, the ketogenic diet is a diet that allows the body to transition into and sustain a state of nutritional ketosis, where the body has flipped its metabolic switch from using glucose to using fats and ketones for fuel. In this way, a keto diet is essentially mimicking what happens to our bodies when we fast." 

Board-certified internist Vincent Pedre, M.D., tells mbg, "The idea behind keto is to keep your fat-accumulating hormone, insulin, low by keeping your blood sugar low. In doing so, you turn on fat-burning genes while suppressing the abdominal-fat-amassing machinery."

Check out our beginner's guide to the keto diet if you're looking to try something new for 2020, and scroll through our keto-approved list of foods to munch on this holiday season.

3. How long does the flu last?

This year's flu season has been pretty tough so far, with an early arrival and many afflicted across the country. There is no specific answer to how long the flu can last, as it varies among individuals, but a typical flu will affect a person for about five to seven days. Check out these articles for our tips on preventing sickness this winter and speeding up the recovery process if you do happen to get sick: 

How To Survive Cold & Flu Season, According to an Immunologist

Green Ways To Fight Colds & the Flu

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4. How to lower cholesterol.

We're always looking for new studies popping up that find natural and innovative ways to lower cholesterol, with the spike in heart disease across the country. Here are some of our favorite tips on lowering cholesterol:

Apples: Believe it or not, an apple a day may actually keep the doctor away! According to a recent study, two apples a day were proven to lower cholesterol in a group of adults.

Avocados: A study published in the Journal of Nutrition back in October found that overweight adults who consumed one avocado a day for a period of five weeks had significantly lower levels of cholesterol. 

Hemp seeds: "Adding hemp seeds to your meals can be extremely beneficial to help keep cholesterol in check. Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids (good fat), which our bodies do not produce, so it is important to eat foods that contain them. These essential fatty acids can help reduce levels of unhealthy fats and prevent buildup of plaque in the arteries." —mbg contributor Adam Hart

5. How many calories should I eat a day?

While we know calorie counting is a popular way of tracking food consumption and dieting, we prefer to do things a little differently. According to Frank Lipman, M.D., all calories are not created equal, and tracking each individual calorie that you consume may be harmful in the long run. "With calories, as with diamonds, it's the quality that matters most and enhances their value," says Lipman. "Calories from nutrient-rich foods versus nutritionally bankrupt ones from processed or refined carbs will have different effects on the body. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods will keep hunger at bay, help maintain stable blood sugar levels, minimize cravings, and enable your brain to signal your belly that it's full." Lipman emphasizes the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to calories, and recommends "good" fats, nonstarchy vegetables, and protein as a way to satisfy cravings while maintaining a healthy diet.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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