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Health Tips and Suggestions from Ron’s Desk

November  11.  How much is too much exercise. Even normal weight people with no health issues can become injured if they push too far, too fast in a range of activities. How much is too much varies from individual to individual, so as your program progresses, listen to your body. If you’re getting signals such as pain, swelling or extreme fatigue, scale back. An experienced coach or personal trainer can help recreational athletes develop a safe program that incorporates proper technique and equipment.

It’s always a good idea to get a checkup before starting a training program, It’s especially important to identify any potential heart problems or risk factors such as a family history of early cardiac death that might lead to sudden death during exercise. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any chest pain, shortness of breath or prior difficulty exercising in hot temperatures.

04 November 2009  Cranberries
Cranberries have long been valued for their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Now, recent studies suggest that this native American berry may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, aid in recovery from stroke, and even help prevent cancer. Fresh cranberries, which contain the highest levels of beneficial nutrients, are at their peak from October through December, just in time to add their festive hue, tart tangy flavor and numerous health protective effects to your holiday meals. When cranberries’ short fresh season is past, rely on cranberry juice and dried or frozen cranberries to help make every day throughout the year a holiday from disease.

Health Benefits

Protection against Urinary Tract Infection

Cranberry Juice Shows Promise as Alternative to Antibiotics
Cranberries’ Potent Anti-Viral Activity
Cranberries Combat Herpes Virus
A Pro-biotic Berry for Gastrointestinal and Oral Health?

Boosts Effectiveness of Drugs against H. Pylori
Prevention of Kidney Stone Formation
Beneficial Actions on Cholesterol
Increases Cardio-Protective HDL Cholesterol
Cranberry Juice Greatly Lessens Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol in Men
Improved Blood Vessel Function, Protecting Even Individuals with Atherosclerosis against Heart Attacks
Antioxidant Protection
Cranberry Juice Ranked Among the Highest in Antioxidant Activity
Cancer Prevention

Cranberry’s Phytonutrients Help Shut Down Human Breast Cancer Cells
Protection against Macular Degeneration
See more information at :
http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145&utm_source=rss_reader&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss_feed

Friday 23 October
Omega-3 deficiency may be hurting our hearts
A growing body of scientific literature touts the benefits of omega-3 supplementation. Studies show that these special fatty acids accumulate in the brain and can aid children with learning disabilities, reduce violence in prison, and even improve everyday mood.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32957460/ns/health-heart_health/page/2/from/ET

 

Wednesday 21 October

If you have young children at home, which of the following is likely to eat up the larger percentage of your household income?

A. Books and other educational materials
B. DVDs, CDs, music downloads, and trips to the movies
C. Video games
D. Fast food

 

You’re probably not surprised to discover that the right answer is D. But you might be surprised to discover that, if you’re a parent, you will most likely spend more on fast food this year than on A, B, and C combined.

Restaurants are no more kind to our children’s health and well-being than they are to our own: The typical burger, soda, and fries that you and I ate as kids contains an average of 214 more calories today than that same meal did in the 1970s — enough to add at least 3 pounds of weight a year to your child’s body, even if he or she ate that fast-food meal just once a week.

Indeed, some of the nutritional stats in the foods restaurants are selling as “kids’ meals” are terrifying. A grilled cheese with as much fat as 25 strips of bacon? A child-size dessert with more than half a day’s worth of calories? And the supermarket aisles offer little salvation.

As a result, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled since 1980 — today, 16 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight or obese. An additional 15 percent of kids are “at risk of becoming overweight or obese.”

Seventy percent of overweight adolescents end up overweight or obese in adulthood. And since obesity increases your odds of heart attack, stroke, and early death, consider the impact of an entire generation of overweight children on our country’s health care system — and families. It’s a chilling thought, especially if one of those children is your own. MSNBC

Thursday 08 October

 

Stand by Her – John W. Anderson (2010)

When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sharon’s first thought wasn’t about death, her career, or even her own children. It was about me, her husband, sitting next to her with a face frozen in sheer panic. She reached over, grabbed my hand, squeezed hard, and looked into my eyes. The first words out of her mouth, after the doctor had told her she had breast cancer, were to me: “I am so sorry.”

She was sorry for getting cancer! She was sorry because my mom had fought breast cancer for ten years before dying from it. So Sharon wanted to make sure that I was going to be okay before she thought anything about herself. This was followed by a much stronger, and scarier feeling: would I still find her attractive? A wife’s worst fear is that her husband is going to leave her, unable to deal with what one woman refers to as “damaged goods.”

Nobody knows how many men leave a marriage after their wives have been diagnosed with breast cancer. What is known is that every patient reception area in the country has at least two or more juicy “bad husband leaving” stories circulating in it at any given time. Does a breast cancer diagnosis make men go bad? No. What it does do is exaggerate everything that’s already been happening in a marriage — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you are a husband, the time has arrived for you to be on your best behavior since you walked down that aisle with her. What your wife wants from you most is for you to show up and be there for her. That’s going to mean accompanying her to her appointments, helping her make her medical decisions (if she wants you to do that with her), comforting her, and the biggest thing of all — listening to her. After a diagnosis, the husband becomes the principal caregiver in the relationship. This role reversal is perhaps the greatest challenge placed on a marriage by breast cancer, and if you are her husband, it’s up to you to be ready for that challenge.

“Stand by Her: A Breast Cancer Guide for Men” by John W. Anderson, © 2010 John W. Anderson. All rights reserved. For more information, visit the “Stand by Her” Web site.

Monday 21 September

Exercise can extend survival even in ‘oldest old’

Study: Walking 4 hours a week tripled 3-year survival for those in late 80s
Even in the “oldest old,” a little physical activity goes a long way, extending life by at least a few years for people in their mid- to late 80s, researchers found. The three-year survival rate was about three times higher for active 85-year-olds compared with those who were inactive. Getting less than four hours of exercise weekly was considered inactive; more than that was active. The results “clearly support the continued encouragement of physical activity, even among the oldest old. Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start,” the researchers wrote in Monday  21 September Archives of Internal Medicine  which published the study
Thursday 10 September

 

Beyond Tired
If you find yourself dozing at your desk now and then, don’t be embarrassed. You aren’t alone. In a 2008 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly one-third of American adults who worked at least 30 hours a week said they have fallen asleep or become extremely drowsy on the job. The culprit is usually too much work and too little sleep. Sometimes, though, it’s more than mere sleepiness — it’s fatigue.
Fatigue is a feeling of weariness and lack of energy that persists despite how much sleep you get — and this persistence is the key difference between just feeling tired and something more serious. Why do some people suffer from fatigue? There are many potential causes.
Work. The average American now works about 170 hours more each year than he or she did in the 1960s, according to an analysis of government survey data by Harvard-based economist Juliet Schor. If you count work at home as well as work in the workplace, the work week has been growing even longer — particularly for women. Equally important is the other side of the coin: we have lots less free time for play, relationships, and hobbies. Too much work and no play can make Jack and Jill dull and fatigued.
Stress. The constant drip-drip-drip of little threats to safety, security, and peace of mind — the traffic jam, the unreasonable boss, the surly teenager, the frail parent — keeps the body’s stress response constantly on. That can alter brain chemistry and generate fatigue.
Depression. Unrecognized and untreated depression is one of the most common causes of persistent fatigue.
Medical conditions. Fatigue can be a sign of anemia, an underactive thyroid gland, sleep apnea, inflammation of the heart’s valves (endocarditis), heart failure, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, and a host of other conditions.
Drug side effects. Some otherwise valuable drugs, including some antihistamines, blood pressure pills, and psychiatric medications, can cause fatigue.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Low levels of iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D are surprisingly common — and easy to correct — causes of fatigue.

Tackling Unusual, Persistent Fatigue
There are several strategies that I recommend to my patients with fatigue. Regular exercise tops the list. It improves energy and generally helps produce a deeper, more restorative sleep. Just beware of exercising too late in the evening, which might make you wired just as you’re trying to go to bed.
Getting a better night’s sleep comes next. Avoid caffeinated beverages after noon and nicotine all the time, since they act as stimulants, disrupting sleep in many people. An alcoholic nightcap may help you fall asleep, but it interrupts deep sleep several hours later.
Frequent, small meals can sometimes help. Large meals cause a surge in blood sugar, which prompts the release of large amounts of insulin. All that insulin causes blood sugar to drop precipitously, which can cause fatigue.
Stress-busting relaxation therapies
also work for many people with fatigue. Believe it or not, so does taking 20 minutes a day to write about your stressful experiences. Finally, getting outdoors is another potential solution. Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson calls it “biophilia” — the restorative connection we feel to the natural world.

Article is by Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., he is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

Wednesday 09 September

What to do for your sports injury
If you have a sports injury the first thing to do is to prevent further injury or damage. This means you should stop activity and look for the cause of the injury. Once you determine what is wrong, you can start immediate treatment. The first treatment for most acute soft tissue injuries (bruises, strains, springs, tears) is to prevent, stop and reduce swelling. When soft tissue is damaged it swells or possibly bleeds internally. This swelling causes pain and loss of motion, which limits use of the muscles.

The primary treatment for soft tissue injuries is R.I.C.E.– rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest means to stop activity and give the tissues time to heal. Compression of an acute injury is perhaps the next most important immediate treatment tip. By quickly wrapping the injured body part with an elastic bandage or wrapyou help keep swelling to a minimum. The next step is to apply ice to the injured area (over the wrap) to stop or reduce the swelling. Never apply heat to an acute injury. Heat will increase circulation and increases swelling.

Immediate Treatment Tips. Here is what you should do immediately when you sustain a sports injury: stop the activity immediately, wrap the injured part in a compression bandage, and apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables) for 10-15 minutes. Let the area warm completely before applying ice again (to prevent frostbite), elevate the injured part to reduce swelling, and then get a professional diagnosis.

Friday 28 August
Keep Your Young Athlete Safe ¨C MSNBC 28 Aug.
An estimated 30 million American kids participate in organized sports each year. Playing sports can bring many benefits to their physical and emotionmal health. But, sports injuries in school kids are common, accounting for about one in five visits to the emergency room for injuries among those ages 5 to 17, according to new federal statistics. Thousands more each year suffer ¡°overuse¡injuries such as tendonitis and stress fractures, experts say.

You are going to have injuries in all sports,¡says Frederick Mueller, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the university’s National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research¡°Theyre gonna happen. But the important thing is the preventive steps to reduce these injuries.

Thankfully, most youth sports injuries aren’t life-threatening. The vast majority of the young athletes at the ER ¡ typically boys and teens ¡were treated and released the same day, reported the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In the federal study, which was based on 2006 data from 25 states, 80 percent of the ER visits were for bruises, sprains, strains, arm fractures or open wounds to the head, neck and trunk.

But sports-related injuries such as concussions and heatstroke can be serious and even fatal, cautions Mueller, who tracks devastating injuries in football, cheerleading, wrestling, gymnastics, ice hockey, baseball and other sports.

Dont let them play through pain. Toughing it out can be dangerous. Kids who complain of aches and pains should see a medical professional so that any underlying problems can be treated before they become worse.

Above all, dont let young athletes suspected of having a concussion return to play before being examined and cleared by a licensed medical professional¡ª not just the coach, says Dr. Stanley Herring, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and a medical director of the university-affiliated Seattle Sports Concussion Program. When in doubt, sit them out¡

Tuesday 24 August
Too Much Sugar.
The American Heart Association says Americans are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, and it’s time to cut way back. Most of that added sugar comes from soft drinks and candy ¡ª a whopping 355 calories and the equivalent of guzzling two cans of soda and eating a chocolate bar. By comparison, most women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons a day, or 100 calories, of added sugar ¡ª the sweeteners and syrups that are added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table. For most men, the recommended limit is 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories, the heart group says. The guidelines do not apply to naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruit, vegetables or dairy products. Rachel K. Johnson, lead author of the statement published online Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, said it was time to give specific advice on how much added sugar Americans should be getting, not just advising moderation. “Take a good hard look at your diet ,” said Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “Figure out where the sources of added sugars are and think about how to cut back on that.”

She said about 8 ounces of fruit-flavored yogurt has about 6 teaspoons of added sugar; 8 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk has about 4 teaspoons; a cup of frosted whole grain cereal has about 3 teaspoons. The biggest culprits for the glut of sugar? Soft drinks by far, followed by candy, cakes, cookies and pies. With about 8 teaspoons of added sugar, a regular 12-ounce soft drinkwill put most women over the recommended daily limit. To check for added sugar, look for a variety of ingredients including sugar, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, molasses or evaporated cane juice on the label.

Thursday 06 August
According to a National Institute on Aging study. At midlife, it takes more effort to keep waists trim because shifting hormones cause most extra weight to settle in the middle. Three simple steps to help reduce weight are:
1. Work two or three 20-minute strength-training sessions into your weekly exercise regimen to preserve lean muscle mass and rev metabolism.
2. Eat a daily serving of omega-3s to help combat inflammation and seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.
3. Get 25% of your daily calories from healthy fats ¡ª such as monounsaturated fatty acids ¡ª which protect your heart and may help you store less fat in your belly (for a 1,600-calorie diet, that’s 44 g).

Tuesday 21 July
Eat Fruit, Live Life – 21st Century Research Discovers How Fruit Can Help Fight Pain
By: Tony Anderson (2008)

Fruit can help maintain healthy joints, support brain function and support a healthy cardiovascular system. You’ll be amazed by recent health discoveries found in fruit. Eating healthy is fast becoming a way of life for many Americans. Studies show people are living longer and enjoying more active lifestyles. For this reason, consumers are starting to search for natural ways to stay healthy. It turns out that simple everyday fruit may be the fountain of youth (no matter what age you are). Studies show that fruit contains many natural health benefits.  Due to advances in food technology, we are only just beginning to discover the many health secrets Mother Nature has placed in simple everyday fruit. In fact, in early 2005, the U.S.D.A. revealed the updated version of the food pyramid that suggests five to nine daily servings of fruit and vegetables.
Fruit is a great-tasting, antioxidant-rich food that can help maintain healthy joints, help support brain function and even assist in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. All of these health benefits and more are available in the multiple colors, sizes and shapes of fruit. Apples to Oranges, grapes to strawberries, each offer unique health benefits that that will lead to an active and healthy lifestyle. The multitudes of health components found in fruit are truly a gift from Mother Nature. Here are a few everyday fruits for healthy living:
Cherries – The Supercharged Fruit: Recent studies have revealed that cherries offer an assortment of health benefits including the ability to offer natural relief from joint pain caused from gout, arthritis and joint inflammation. Many are choosing to drink cherry juice concentrate, eat dried cherries or consume tart cherry fruit supplements to enjoy the natural benefits of this tiny red fruit.
Blueberries – Nature’s Top Antioxidant Fruit: Blueberries emerged as the top antioxidant capacity fruit in a laboratory testing procedure called ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity developed by the USDA*. ORAC has become the definitive measurement of antioxidant capacity.
James Joseph, Ph.D, Chief of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston, is working with blueberries to examine their potential to help improve motor skills and reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging. “The blueberry has emerged as a very powerful food in the aging battle,” said Joseph. “Given the possibility that blueberries may reverse short-term memory loss and forestall other effects of aging, their potential may be very great.”
Strawberries: Studies have shown that strawberries can help promote a healthy digestive system and may help lower cholesterol. A handful of strawberries can go a long way to a helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
A website called Orchard of Health (www.orchardofhealth.com ) encourages increased daily consumption of fruit and provides research information on the health benefits offered by everyday fruit. In addition to the research, the site also offers great-tasting recipes made with antioxidant-rich fruit. This information-only website contains research articles and information about the natural health benefits behind simple everyday fruit.

Wednesday 15 July
Menu scientists –  Too much sugar, fat and salt – It’s like a drug.                                    

In the 21st century the food industry is creating and marketing unhealthy food in much the same way that tobacco companies manufactured and sold cigarettes in the 20th century. But overeating doesn¡¯t only affect people who are overweight. In fact, more than 70 million Americans have become conditioned to overeat, and it affects people of all different weights. Dr. David A. Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration who took on big tobacco in the 1990s, is now taking on the food industry in ¡°The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite¡± (Rodale, 2009). In his book, Kessler pulls back the curtain to reveal how the food industry and its scientists really operate. Most of the foods served at restaurants combine tempting amounts of sugar, fat, and salt. They are either loaded onto a core ingredient (such as meat, vegetable, potato, or bread), layered on top of it, or both. For instance: Potato skins: The potato is hollowed out and the skin is fried, which provides a substantial surface area for ¡°fat pickup.¡± Then some combination of bacon bits, sour cream, and cheese is added. The result: fat on fat on fat on fat, loaded with salt. Buffalo wings: The fatty parts of a chicken get deep-fried. Then they are served with creamy or sweet dipping sauce that¡¯s heavily salted. Usually they¡¯re par-fried at a production plant, then fried again at the restaurant, which doubles the fat. The result: sugar on salt on fat on fat on fat. Spinach dip: The spinach provides little more than color¡ªa high-fat, high-salt dairy product is the main ingredient. The result: a tasty dish of salt on fat.Here’s how this deviousness works: Human beings have what food-industry insiders call a “bliss point,” a nirvana of the taste buds triggered by particular amounts of salt, sugar, and fat. Menu scientists (yes, that’s a job!) at popular restaurant chains and packaged-food corporations use their knowledge of the bliss point to manipulate your appetite, adding salt, sugar, and fat to their products in combinations designed to create hedonism on a plate¡ªa taste experience so intense that it kicks the brain’s pleasure system into overdrive. It’s like a drug. And like any drug, it leads you to obsess about that moment of pleasure so much that you’ll do almost anything to prolong or relive it. The result: a bigger bottom line for them¡ªand a bigger waistline for you. The message  for us, be aware of what you eat and its effect on your brain chemistry.

Tuesday 30 June
FDA panel recommends smaller doses of painkillers

From Associated Press June 30, 2009 11:38 AM EST Government experts say the maximum daily dose listed on Tylenol and dozens of other painkillers should be reduced to help curb deadly overdoses.The Food and Drug Administration’s panel voted 21-16 to lower the current maximum dose of nonprescription acetaminophen, which is 4 grams, or eight pills per day. Taking more than that can cause potentially fatal liver damage.Federal regulators are asking experts to vote on ways to prevent overdose with acetaminophen – the key ingredient in Tylenol, Excedrin and other medications. Despite years of educational campaigns and other actions, the FDA says acetaminophen remains the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. The panel also is scheduled to vote on other proposals to reduce overdose with the drugs.

Monday 29 June
Phytosterols Help Lower Serum Cholesterol

Plant sterols, phytosterols, are cholesterol-like compounds that are found mostly in vegetable oils, nuts and legumes. There are about 44 sterols known to exist in plants. The most abundant phytosterols are, however, beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.

Phytosterols have the same function as cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is necessary component of cell membrane and required for the synthesis of sex hormones and vitamins. However, when cholesterol is high in the blood (serum) it is associated with heart diseases. Diet rich in phytosterols is known to reduce serum cholesterol. For example, in one study it was found that subjects fed with wheat germ containing high phytosterol had 42% lower cholesterol in their blood as compared to those who were fed phytosterol-free wheat germ.

The mechanisms suggested on how phytosterols help reduce serum cholesterol include enhancing excretion of cholesterol, interfering with cholesterol synthesis, and competing for cholesterol acceptor sites in the intestinal walls.

On the other hand, diet based on animal food (meat, egg etc.) contributes to elevated serum cholesterol level. In the following table is a list of food high/low in phytosterols. Generally, oils have high sterol (plant based-cholesterol) level where as vegetables and fruits have lower sterol content. The sterol content presented below is the sum of beta sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.

Food Sources Total Sterol Content (mg/100g)
Oils
Rice bran

1055

Corn

952

Wheat germ

553

Flax seed

338

Cottonseed

327

Soybean

221

Peanut

206

Olive

176

Coconut

91

Palm

49

Vegetables
Beet root

25

Brussels sprout

24

Cauliflower

18

Onion

15

Carrot

12

Cabbage

11

Yam

10

Fruits
Orange

24

Banana

16

Apple

12

Cherry

12

Peach

10

Pear

8

Nuts
Cashew

158

Almond

143

Pecan

108

Pistachio

108

Walnut

108

Legumes
Pea

135

Kidney bean

127

Broad bean

124

 

Tuesday 23 June
The importance of raw food and a plant based diet for healthy living and to help fight cancer.
Please wait for this You Tube NBC News video to load and the click arrow to start.

 

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