Q. I snore a lot at night. My wife is always complaining about her sleep being interrupted by my loud snoring.
I recently wore earplugs to bed for another reason, and this had the unintended result of stopping me from snoring. I now wear earplugs to bed every night and no longer snore.
A. We can imagine earplugs helping your wife deal with your snores. How they would stop your snoring is a mystery to us.
Snoring is sometimes a symptom of sleep apnea, which can have serious consequences for health. If your wife agrees that you no longer snore, you need not worry about this. If she still complains, discuss it with your doctor, who may prescribe CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). A new device consists of a nose plug rather than a full-face CPAP mask. Some people find it easier to use to solve their snoring problem.
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Q. I suffer from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and am wondering if cinnamon would make it even worse, since it helps diabetics lower their sugar? I certainly do not want my blood glucose any lower!
A. Cinnamon has been suggested as a way for people with type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar after a meal. A review of research in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (online, Dec. 27, 2011) concluded that "cinnamon has beneficial effects at least on fasting blood glucose."
We could find no studies on cinnamon lowering blood sugar in people without diabetes. A low-carb diet and frequent high-protein snacks (nuts, cheese, egg, chicken, fish) can keep blood sugar from bouncing around in people with reactive hypoglycemia.
To learn more about a healthy low-carb diet, cinnamon and other foods that can help stabilize blood sugar, we suggest "The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies," available in libraries and online (PeoplesPharmacy.com).
There are two kinds of cinnamon. The one that seems to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar is cassia cinnamon, the most common and least expensive type of cinnamon.
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Q. I've had 20 years of trial and error in fighting constipation. I am lean and fit and have a very healthy lifestyle.
I was disappointed to see your suggestions for a constipated reader were more of the same -- just fiber-related solutions. Two potential remedies were omitted. First, drinking lots of water is critical in conjunction with fiber. Second, the importance of probiotics was overlooked.
I hate to promote a brand, but honestly, Activia yogurt (several servings a day) is the ONLY thing that has allowed me to be regular for the first time since childhood. The commercials may seem silly, but I suggest your reader try it. I still eat high-fiber foods and drink lots of water, too, but Activia is great.
A. Americans have been obsessed for decades with killing germs, but we are finally catching up to Europe in recognizing the value of beneficial bacteria (probiotics).
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Q. I have suffered with canker sores all my life. I've read in your column about sauerkraut, but I've found that kiwi fruit works better.
If you eat at least two kiwi fruit a day, the next morning the canker sore will be much smaller and less painful. It works best if you chew the fruit and swish it around in your mouth for as long as you can. The fruit needs to be very ripe to work. I hope this helps anyone who reads it.
A. We appreciate your experience. Other readers also have had success using kiwi fruit to fight canker sores (aphthous ulcers). Some eat kiwi weekly to prevent outbreaks.