Here’s the latest in a series of health tips that are less than earth-shaking but good to know. Thanks for dropping by.

Let’s kick off with heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common heel ailment. And if you have it, you damn well know it. The pain can be excruciating. Fortunately, PF responds to exercise and physical therapy. In reporting on various therapies used, The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter (Oct. 2010) noted one exceptionally effective exercise. It’s described below, but don’t try it without an OK from your doctor.

Sit in a chair and cross your legs so the affected foot rests on the opposite knee. Then grab the base of your toes and pull toward the shin, so you feel the stretch across the sole; hold for 10 seconds. According to Johns Hopkins, researchers found that “people who repeated this exercise 10 times, three times a day for eight weeks experienced a significant improvement in pain compared with people who simply stretched their calf muscles.”

The bad news about grapefruit.

For this warning, we thank the good folks at Housecall, the Mayo Clinic’s weekly newsletter:

Grapefruit is incompatible with a wide variety of prescription medications. And Katherine Zeratsky, a licensed, registered dietician writing in Housecall, warns against taking these interactions lightly, “as some can cause potentially dangerous health problems.” Definitely consult your doctor on this one.

Chicken soup is another story.

Matzo balls or no matzo balls, this stuff really helps relieve cold and flue symptoms. It acts as an anti-inflamatory, helping to break up congestion and limiting the time viruses are in contact with the nose. Thanks again Mayo Clinic.

More from Mayo…

Beef buffs beware:

The word “prime” is not shorthand for quality kings of the meat counter. Beef packages wearing that label usually have more fat than cuts identified as “choice” or “select.”

Cold facts about leftovers:

Keep them refrigerated three or four days—no more—or there’s a good chance they’ll turn on you.  If you want them around longer, freeze them fast. Perishables like meat, fish and eggs should be in the refrigerator within an hour after cooking. And remember to reheat thoroughly.

Coffee anyone?

Why not? According to last October’s Nutrition Action Health Letter, scientists tracking more than 89,000 women for 26 years found that the risk of gout was 22 percent lower for coffee drinkers in the crowd than non-drinkers. An earlier study of men yielded similar results. And all it took to improve their odds against this painful joint disease was one to three cups a day—decaf or regular.

A Couple of Quickies.

Get rid of visceral belly fat. You’ll run less risk of heart disease and look better in a T-shirt. Here’s how: Keep whole grain bread, oatmeal (my all-time favorite), and brown rice on your menu. There are many other fat fighters. Check them out. (From Nutrition Action Health Letter)

Are you a snorer? Losing some weight might shut you up. So can sleeping on your side. No booze near bedtime can quiet a noisy nose, too. (From talking to some smart people)