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How to make your favorite recipes healthier
Forget You Not
Easy ways to improve memory
Healthy ways to speed up your metabolism
JANUARY 2013 Adirondack Journal A SPECIAL Times of Ti SUPPLEMENT TO News Enterprise Go Online to view this section!
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4 Easy ways to lower your cholesterol
5 Successfully fend off workplace fatigue
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5 Some startling smoking stats
6 Exercising outside of the box - Simple ways to incorporate exercise into your daily rountine
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About the park:
John Dillon Park, a gift from International Paper to the community, recognizes retired International Paper CEO and Paul Smith’s l alumnus John Dillon. He envisioned a place where all could enjoy the Adironddacks’ natural landscape. This barrier-free park is protected by a conservation easement donated by International Paper and will remain forever wild, showing how wellmanaged forests, recreation and conservation benefit both land and people.
JOHN DILLON PARK
There are millions of acres in the Adirondacks, but John Dillon Park isn’t like anyplace place else. Visit and experience everything the wilderness has to offer - no matter who you are. Our lean-tos, fishing docks and gentle trails accommodate wheelchairs, making the outdoors completely accessible. In fact, the entire park has been designed under guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Our guests say: “Dillon Park is an amazing place! It’s a dream for someone who loves the wilderness and uses a wheelchair.”
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At International Paper John Dillon Park, we believe a defining journey doesn’t have to be a distant trek.
Come for the day, the night or the week. The park is free and open to all. Making M ki the h naturall llandscape d off the h Adirondacks accessible to all.
“A lot of people couldn’t experience this anywhere else.” “We expected to camp out and enjoy the ambience, but this exceeded expectations. The campsite was very easy to reach. We had a blast, and will definitely be back. THANK YOU!”
International Paper makes things that weave our world together. That is why we are committed to setting global standards, renewing resources and working in partnership not just for this generation, but for many more to come. To learn more visit internationalpaper.com
See for yourself.
John Dillon Park provides a barrier-free Adirondack experience. Lean-tos easily sleep up to 6 people; larger groups upon request. For more information or to make a reservation: (518) 524-6226 (May 1 to Aug. 31)
or (518) 327-6126 (Sept. 1 to Apr. 30)
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Easy ways to lower your cholesterol H igh cholesterol is an issue for many men and women, who may or may not know that excessive cholesterol in the blood can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s a genuine concern for many people, as the American Heart Association notes that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Statistics Canada reports that heart disease accounted for 21 percent of all deaths in 2008 (the most recent year for which statistics were available), placing it behind only cancer among the leading causes of death in Canada. The link between high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease has long since been established, but the good news is that even men and women with considerably high cholesterol levels can greatly reduce their risk of one day developing cardiovascular disease. Some may need the help of prescription medication to lower their cholesterol, while others might only need to make certain lifestyle changes to lower their cholesterol. Men and women should discuss a plan of attack to lower their cholesterol levels with a physician, who will determine if medication should be a part of the plan. Even if medication is a factor, the following are some lifestyle changes men and women with high or moderate cholesterol levels can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Shed those extra pounds. According to the Mayo Clinic, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can greatly reduce cholesterol levels. There are a number of ways to lose weight, but the most successful way to lose weight and keep it off typically involves adopting a more active lifestyle and coupling that with a healthy diet. The AHA recommends 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This can include any number of activities that get you off the couch and exercising, including walking, biking, swimming, and jogging. An additional benefit of exercising to lose weight is that it can raise your socalled “good” cholesterol (also known as high-density lipoprotein, or HDL), which can protect you against a heart attack. Many medical experts believe HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where the cholesterol is then passed from the body. Embrace heart-healthy foods. One of the more effective, yet often most
Daily physical activity, including walking, is one easy way to reduce your cholesterol levels as well as your risk for heart disease.
difficult, ways to lower cholesterol is to make dietary changes, forgoing unhealthy fare for more heart-friendly foods. The idea of changing one’s diet does not appeal to many people, but a more heart-healthy diet does not have to be devoid of taste. You can still eat red meat and dairy products, but keep them to a minimum, as both red meat and dairy can raise your “bad” cholesterol. Also known as low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, bad cholesterol can combine with other substances to form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible, increasing one’s risk of heart attack and stroke. Red meat and dairy tend to have a good deal of saturated fat, which the Mayo Clinic suggests should account for less than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake. There are many ways to make more heart-healthy dietary choices, some of which include selecting whole grains (including whole wheat pasta and whole wheat flour), loading up on fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber (which can lower cholesterol) and choosing entrees for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as certain types of fish, which help lower LDL cholesterol. Stop smoking. Smokers have a surefire way to reduce their cholesterol, though some may find it more difficult than making any dietary changes. Quitting smoking has an almost immediate impact on the health of your heart, which is at a lower risk of attack within 24 hours of quitting smoking. Within one year of quitting, your risk of heart attack is half that of someone who continues to smoke, and in 15 years your risk of heart disease will be similar to that of someone who has never smoked. In addition, quitting smoking may improve your HDL cholesterol level. Though it might not be easy, quitting smoking might be the most effective way to improve your cholesterol levels while lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease. More information about lowering your cholesterol is available at www.heart.org.
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Successfully fend off workplace fatigue
Leaving the office to take a brief, yet brisk, walk is one way to combat fatigue during the workday.
espite the negative health implications of smoking tobacco, millions of people continue to light up each and every day. While past generations may have been able to claim ignorance as to the effects smoking has on the body, nowadays ignorance is no excuse. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that around 20 percent of Americans over the age of 18 currently smoke. The latest Statistics Canada figures show 20.8 percent of Canadians ages 12 and over smoke. Thousands of people lose their lives to health problems due to cigarette smoking every year. Roughly 10 million cigarettes are sold every minute around the world, and CBS News Canada reports men and women age 18 to 34 are the segment of society most likely to smoke, as 28 percent of people in that age bracket smoke tobacco. Rehashing the effects of smoking on the body may help to inspire a new crop of smokers to quit.
• Most lung cancer cases are attributed to cigarette smoking. Information from ReadytoQuit.com indicates that 90 percent of lung cancer cases in men and 80 percent in women can be traced back to smoking. • Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading smoking-related cause
of death. • Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality around the world. • Smoking-related diseases cause an estimated 440,000 American deaths each year, and tobacco kills an estimated 45,000 Canadians a year, says the Canadian Lung Association. • A 2004 Study by the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that cigarette smoke contains more than 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. • A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke were 25 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease compared to nonsmokers not exposed to smoke. • Improvements in breathing ability and lung health can begin as early as 72 hours after quitting smoking. After nine months, smoking-related coughing, congestion and shortness of breath should slow and cease. After one year, risk of coronary heart decreases by 50 percent.
There are many avenues for quitting smoking. Talk with a doctor about medical and nonmedical intervention to find a plan that works for you.
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atigue can prove a formidable foe to anyone. Exercise enthusiasts and couch potatoes alike periodically can suffer from fatigue, which can affect performance at work and one’s relationships with friends and family. Fatigue can be temporary or chronic, and while quick fixes like an energy drink might work for a little while, such solutions may only mask fatigue for a brief period before it returns once the stimulant wears off. Many times fending off fatigue involves making some lifestyle changes that can boost your energy over the long haul and make fatigue a distant memory. Eat breakfast no matter what. According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate breakfast can increase alertness between breakfast and lunch, a period of time during which many professionals begin to feel fatigue settling in. Whole-wheat toast or a bowl of high-fiber cereal can pack an energetic punch that lasts all the way to lunchtime. Choose high-energy snacks. One
of the problems many people have when dealing with fatigue is how they choose to combat their feelings of sluggishness. Eating a candy bar from the office snack machine might seem like the ideal energy booster, but a sugar boost does not last very long. Chances are your feelings of fatigue will return sooner rather than later. Give yourself a break. Burning the midnight oil might be necessary, but failing to take breaks throughout the day will likely exasperate any feelings of fatigue. That’s because taking periodic breaks throughout the workday has been proven to be very effective at combating fatigue. A study conducted at Louisiana State University compared a trio of different work schedules for workers who used a computer. Those who took brief, frequent breaks were better at fighting fatigue and more productive at work than those who did not. A short break of 5 to 10 minutes can be enough to provide an immediate energy boost and fend off feelings of fatigue. Hit the road, Jack. Another way to effectively fight fatigue is to get walking. A decades-old study conducted by a researcher at California State University, Long Beach, found that walking briskly for 10 minutes provides people with more energy than eating a candy bar. Though the candy bar led to an initial energy boost, that boost died down within an hour, whereas the boost provided by a brisk walk increased energy levels for roughly two hours. Get up and walk around the office or take a brisk walk around the block or the parking lot of your office complex. You’ll come back to your desk refreshed and ready to resume your workday. Fatigue is no laughing matter for many men and women. But a few tried and tested fatigue-fighting methods can increase your energy and productivity.
Some startling smoking stats
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Exercising outside of the box
Simple ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine
Forgoing the elevator in favor of the stairs is one way to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine.
to squeeze in some daily exercise as well. Opinions as to what’s the best time of day to exercise vary, and no definitive study exists to suggest one time of day is better than another. People who like to relax with a little television time at night should make the most of that time by hitting the treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike instead of just plopping down on the couch. Add a television to your home’s exercise room or purchase a gym membership where the cardiovascular machines are connected to televisions. You
will still get to enjoy your favorite shows while simultaneously getting the benefit of exercise. Say “bon voyage” to the conference room. Professionals who spend lots of time in meetings can add a simple twist that incorporates exercise into a typical business meeting. Rather than conducting the meeting in a conference room, propose a walking meeting when possible. A walking meeting is the same as a standard business meeting, but it’s conducted on foot outside of the office. Walking meetings can provide some much-needed energy for you and your fellow staff members, who may appreciate the chance to get out from behind their desks and stretch their legs while still getting work done. Take your smartphones or tablets along to jot down important ideas, just like you would in a more traditional meeting. And make the most of your walk by leaving time for some light stretching before and after the meeting. Chances are you will return to your desk reenergized and glad you found a way to get some exercise despite of a busy schedule.
Park far away when shopping. It’s tempting and almost human nature to hunt for the parking spot closest to the door when shopping at the mall or even the grocery store. But for those who want to include more exercise in their daily routines, parking far away from the entrance to your favorite store is a great way to incorporate more walking into your life. Walking is a simple yet effective cardiovascular exercise, one that the Mayo Clinic notes can lower your blood pressure and manage your weight while lowering your low-density lipoprotein, which is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. In fact, research has indicated that regular, brisk walking can be just as effective at lowering a person’s risk of heart attack as more vigorous exercise, including jogging. When parking far away from the entrance, just make sure you park in a well-lit area where others can easily see or hear you. Many adults find they simply don’t have the time to commit to routine exercise. But there are several simple ways to incorporate exercise into your existing routine without taking time from your already busy day.
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xercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. When coupled with a healthy diet, exercise puts men and women on a path toward optimal health while reducing risk for a host of ailments, some of which can be deadly. But many people find they simply don’t have the time to exercise regularly. Commitments to career and family can be demanding and time-consuming, and exercise is often a casualty of a hectic schedule. Though getting to the gym every day or even making use of exercise equipment at home on a daily basis may not be feasible, that doesn’t mean people still can’t find ways to incorporate a little exercise into their daily routines. The following are a few simple ways to fit more exercise into your day no matter how busy you may be. Avoid the elevator, and attack the stairs. The elevator may be inviting, but it’s also somewhat of an enabler. Instead of taking the elevator up to your office each day, take the stairs, and take them with more gusto than you’re used to. Rather than taking one step at a time, take the stairs two by two, lifting your legs high as you scale each pair of steps. This helps build your leg muscles and makes the daily climb up the staircase a little more strenuous. Turn TV time into treadmill time. Watching a little television at night is how many people relax and unwind, but it can be a great time
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LOOK AFTER that you have hot meals and drinks regularly. Mov- 5 YOURSELF AND OTHERS. ing around will generate body heat, which also On cold days try to avoid helps to keep your body going outside; however, if you do need to, remember warm. to wrap up warm. If you have an older neighbor or GET A FLU 4 SHOT. relative, look out for them You can get a free shot during winter to make sure from your GP to protect that they are safe and GET FINANCIAL against seasonal flu if you well. 2 SUPPORT. are over 65, have a longEAT WELL AND There is a wealth of help 3 KEEP MOVING. term health conditions or These tips brought to you by Hometown Oil. and advice, and may be Food is a vital source of are pregnant. grants and/or benefits energy, so try to make sure
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Easy ways to improve memory E
veryone forgets things from time to time. Periodically forgetting where you left your keys is likely not indicative of a bad memory. But some people find themselves forgetting things more frequently, a troubling development for those who can’t explain their sudden loss of memory. Memory loss is often considered to go hand-inhand with aging. As a person ages, conventional wisdom suggests memory will begin to fade. But sometimes memory loss has nothing to do with aging, and a lot to do with a brain that isn’t sharp because of an unhealthy lifestyle. The following are a few ways men and women can improve their memory. Get some sleep. Men and women who aren’t getting enough sleep can almost certainly blame that lack of shut-eye for at least some of their memory loss. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain’s ability to think critically, solve problems and even be creative is compromised considerably. In addition, research has shown that memory-enhancing activities occur during the deepest stages of sleep, further highlighting the importance of getting a full night of interruptionfree rest. Hit the gym. Exercise is another activity that can improve memory. Daily physical exercise increases the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain while reducing the risk for certain disorders, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both of which can lead to memory loss. Manage stress effectively. Stress has a host of negative side effects, not the least of which is its impact on your memory. Chronic stress that goes untreated can destroy brain cells and damage the region of the brain that deals with the formation of new memories as well as the retrieval of older memories. Numerous studies have shown that men and women cite their career as their primary
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Prioritizing a good night’s sleep is one way to improve memory. source of stress. Since quitting your job is likely not an option, find ways to manage your stress more effectively. This may mean finding a way to make the most of your time, be it working more efficiently, emphasizing planning ahead or even vowing to stop procrastinating. Other ways to manage stress include making time to relax and recognizing that you have limits while seeking the help of others. Make some dietary changes. Diet can also have an impact on memory. What you eat is fuel for both your body and your brain, and a poor diet can have a negative impact on your memory. Be sure to include omega-3 fatty acids, sources of which include salmon, tuna and other cold water fatty fish, in your diet. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be found in walnuts, can boost brain power and possibly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Foods with antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables, can also protect your brain cells from damage, which can have a positive impact on your memory. Leafy green vegetables like
spinach, romaine lettuce and arugula as well as fruits like apricots, mangoes and cantaloupe are good sources of antioxidants. A diet high in saturated fat, which is found in red meat, whole milk, butter and cheese, has been found to have a negative impact on memory. Research has shown that such a diet increases a person’s risk of developing dementia while impairing an individual’s ability to concentrate and remember things. Loss of memory is often a momentary lapse, but those who find themselves becoming more and more forgetful can take steps to improve their memory and their quality of life.
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There are a host of ways fitnessminded folks can burn a few extra calories, even if they don’t know they’re doing it.
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For instance, those who can’t sit still and tend to have a nervous personality may burn more calories than a person who is calm. That’s because fidgeting can burn up to 350 calories a day. Laughing more can also burn extra calories. Scientists estimate that laughing 100 times is equivalent to a 10-minute workout on a rowing machine. Remember to get some shut-eye as well. Research has found that dieters who get adequate sleep can more easily shed weight. For those who are feeling amorous, engaging in intimate behavior can burn up to 360 calories an hour.
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Healthy ways to speed up your metabolism Lifting weights and staying hydrated are two ways to speed up your metabolism.
ieters are often aware of metabolism and its effect on an individual’s weight. Metabolism is a process that serves a host of important functions, including converting food and drink into energy and using energy to construct certain components of cells. For the perpetual dieter, metabolism can be a natural-born enemy, a process that simply isn’t fast enough for dieters to lose weight. Even more frustrating, a person’s metabolism can hinge on genetics and gender. People may inherit a speedy or slow metabolism. Gender plays a large role considering men have a tendency to burn more calories than women, even while resting. Those who inherited a speedy metabolism are often the people who can seemingly eat whatever they choose without gaining a pound. But gaining a faster metabolism isn’t just for men or those who inherited a speedier metabolism at birth. In fact, there are several healthy ways to speed up metabolism. Pack on some muscle. People with more muscle tend to have a higher resting metabolic rate. That’s because muscle burns more
calories than fat. According to the American Council on Exercise, each pound of fat burns just two calories per day, while various estimates suggest each pound of muscle burns between 35 to 50 calories per day. Those figures might seem insignificant, but they add up over time and someone with significant muscle can burn considerably more calories than someone without. Employ resistance training to build muscle, as such training activates muscles all over the body, increasing your daily metabolic rate as a result. Emphasize intensity. Daily exercise is great, but high-intensity daily exercise will prove more effective at speeding up your metabolism. Low- or moderate-intensity workouts don’t pack the same punch as highintensity workouts, which produce a longer increase in resting metabolic rate. Sign up for a Zumba® or spin class at your gym, both of which are the kind of high-intensity cardiovascular workout that can speed up your metabolism. Embrace grazing. Grazing is a dietary philosophy in which individuals eat five to six smaller meals every three to four hours
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the body does not have enough water, several of its functions, including its ability to burn calories, slow down. Muscles are roughly 70 percent water, so if they are not fully hydrated they cannot generate energy, affecting your metabolism. In addition, the body is not as effective at using fat as fuel when it is dehydrated, further slowing your metabolism. Staying hydrated is as easy as drinking enough water throughout the day. How much water an individual needs to stay hydrated is open to debate among medical professionals, but one study found that adults who drink eight or more glasses of water per day burned more calories than those who drank four glasses of water per day. Many people feel they were either gifted at birth with a fast metabolism or doomed from the start with a slow metabolism. But an individual’s metabolism is not set in stone, and there are a host of healthy ways men and women can speed up their metabolism.
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instead of three large meals each day. Eating this way helps keep your metabolism going, and the result is you will burn more calories throughout the day than you would if you ate a more traditional diet. Of course, what you eat when grazing is important, too. Choose low-fat, high-nutrient foods, and snack on fruits and vegetables instead of more popular snacks like potato chips. Grazing on unhealthy foods won’t lead to weight loss and may even cause weight gain. Eat more protein. Protein can serve many purposes for people trying to lose weight. Protein has a tendency to make you feel full when you eat it, reducing the likelihood that you will overeat. In addition, the body burns more calories when digesting protein than it does while digesting fats or carbohydrates. Turkey, low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts and beans are great sources of protein, which should not be all you eat but can be used as a periodic replacement for other foods that may slow down your metabolism. Stay hydrated. Your metabolism will likely slow down if you allow yourself to get dehydrated. When
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How to get going with grazing A healthy breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit is a good breakfast for men and women adopting grazing as their approach to diet.
ating healthy is a goal for many people. For some, altering what they eat is all it takes to shed those extra pounds and improve their overall health, while others find changing what they eat isn’t helping them reach their goals. One option that has its share of supporters and detractors is grazing, which involves eating five or six smaller portions throughout the day instead of the more widely accepted diet of eating three square meals per day. Those who
stand by grazing claim it keeps a person’s metabolism going all day, helping to burn more calories while encouraging men and women to eat smaller portions. Those who question grazing point to studies questioning its efficacy, namely that it does not have the calorie-burning effects its supporters suggest. In fact, researchers in the United Kingdom have said eating throughout the day (a standard grazing diet has men and women eating five to six meals per day, with three to four hour intervals between meals) undermines the body’s ability to burn fat. The debate over grazing does not figure to go away anytime soon, as many people have found it a successful way to lose weight and get healthier while many others have found it ineffective. For those who want to give it a shot, consider the following advice. Choose healthy foods. Grazing can only be effective if you choose healthy foods. Snacking on foods like chocolate or potato chips every three to four hours is a recipe for disaster regardless of portion size.
When grazing, choose foods that are low in fat and high in nutrients. Avoid sugary foods as well as those that are high in sodium. Foods that are strong sources of protein and complex carbohydrates, including chicken breasts, fish, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, will help you feel full and keep you feeling that way until the next time to eat rolls around. Don’t skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast is an essential element of successful grazing. If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to overeat, which could establish a domino effect of poor eating as the day goes on. A simple breakfast, such as a bowl of cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk or some oatmeal with berries mixed in, is all it takes to start the day off on the right foot. Stick to a schedule. When grazing, meals should be eaten every three to four hours. If you stray from that schedule, you could wind up eating larger portions or more meals than you should be consuming. Stick to your schedule and remember the portions are supposed to be smaller, so
you should not feel skittish about pulling a snack out at a meeting in the office or if you have company over at your house. Prepare meals in advance. A problem many people encounter when they first begin to graze is the lack of availability of smaller-portioned meals and snacks. Large portions and snacks with no nutritional value are the norm, so finding smaller meals and healthy snacks when you’re away from home will be difficult. Recognize results aren’t immediate. No effective weight loss plan produces results overnight, and grazing is no exception. You will not drop 10 pounds in the first week, but you might notice heightened energy levels throughout the day shortly after you begin to graze, especially if you choose the right foods. Give grazing enough time to get going before judging if it’s the right approach for you. The topic of grazing is one that continues to inspire debate, but men and women who want to lose weight and keep the weight off should consider grazing as a healthy and potentially effective option.
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Make your favorite recipes healthier
Using nonstick cookware when preparing your favorite meals can reduce reliance on oil or butter, cutting fat and calories from your diet.
healthy diet plays a significant role in a person’s overall health. Without a healthy diet, men and women are more susceptible to disease and other potentially harmful ailments. But when many people think of a healthy diet, a lack of flavor is often one of the first things to come to mind. That’s a common misconception, as a diet that’s healthy and full of nutrients can simultaneously be flavorful. In fact, it’s easy to enjoy many of your favorite dishes in a way that makes them much healthier. Oftentimes, a few minor alterations to a recipe is all it takes to turn the dish from highrisk to healthy. Trim the fat. No one wants to eat fat, but fat isn’t entirely bad for you. Fat can help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, and replacing fat with something like carbohydrates decreases how much these valuable
vitamins are absorbed. In addition, dietary fat releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel full, reducing the likelihood that you will overeat. Those are just a few of the benefits of dietary fat, which is an essential element of a healthy diet. But overconsumption of dietary fat can be dangerous, and many people simply need to trim some fat from their diets. One way to do that is to reduce how much butter, shortening or oil you use when cooking. For some recipes, you may be able to cut suggested portions of such ingredients by half without replacing them; however, for others, especially those for baked goods, these items may have to be replaced. In the case of the latter, find a suggested alternative to high-fat items, and only use half of the high-fat item listed in the original recipe. Chances are you won’t taste the difference, but your
body will be better for it. Substitute healthier fare. Substituting items is another way to turn a favorite dish into a healthier dish without altering the flavor dramatically, if at all. For example, instead of cooking with enriched pasta, purchase whole-wheat or whole-grain pastas, which are higher in fiber and lower in calories. If a recipe calls for using milk, choose fat-free milk instead of whole milk. Doing so reduces your fat intake by nearly 8 grams per cup. Recipes can even be made healthier by simply cutting back on the main dish and adding more vegetables. Instead of using the recommended amount of meat or chicken, scale back and make up for it with additional vegetables, which reduces your caloric and fat intake while adding more vitamins and minerals to your diet. Change your methods. Certain
Can diet soda cause weight gain?
structure of these sweeteners alters or decades, people have turned the way the brain processes the to diet soft drinks as a healthier neurotransmitter serotonin. In addition alternative to regular soft drinks. to helping with sleep, mood and other However, consuming diet soda on a functions in the body, serotonin helps regular basis may have some serious tell the body when it is full. When natural health ramifications, including weight foods and sugars are consumed, gain. serotonin signals to the brain to turn off It may seem counterintuitive to suggest your body’s appetite. However, artificial that diet sodas may be causing people Diet soda may seem sweeteners may prolong the release of to gain weight, particularly because serotonin, and your appetite remains in full a healthier option than these sodas are commonly consumed by people who are trying to lose weight. sugary drinks, but it may force long after it should have abated. Another component of artificial However, artificial sweeteners found cause weight gain and sweeteners, particularly aspartame, is that in some diet sodas may increase a contribute to obesity. these chemicals can trick the body into person’s risk of obesity. It’s not entirely thinking it has, in fact, consumed sugar. what you are eating that can cause That triggers the pancreas to produce the weight gain but what the body thinks it is insulin needed to regulate blood-glucose eating (or drinking) that plays a role. levels. It also causes the body to store the glucose as There are two factors at play with regard to the artificial fat. This can lead to low blood sugar, which may cause sweetener conundrum. First, The University of Texas you to eat a sugary treat in response. Having diet soda Health Science Center in San Antonio has researched the or eating a sugarless item once in a while won’t create potential link between obesity and artificial sweeteners. any long-term effects. But repeatedly relying on artificial Researchers have found that something in the chemical
cooking techniques are healthier than others. Frying foods or cooking with fat, oil or salt is not the healthiest way to prepare a meal. Some of your favorite dishes that call for frying or cooking in oil can be just as flavorful if you opt for healthier methods like braising, broiling, grilling, or steaming. When recipes call for basting foods in oil or drippings, forgo these unhealthy options and baste foods in vegetable juice or fat-free broth instead. What you use to cook can also be healthy or unhealthy. Nonstick cookware won’t require you to use oil or butter to keep foods from sticking to the pan. This reduces the amount of fat and calories you will consume, and you likely won’t notice a difference with regards to flavor. Men and women who enjoy food and cooking their own meals can take several steps to make those meals healthier without sacrificing flavor.
sweeteners could affect appetite and change blood sugar levels for good. These aren’t the only consequences to diet soda and other beverages. Drinking diet soda regularly may affect cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference found people who drink diet soda every day have a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda consumption. Regular soda isn’t a better alternative. It can contribute to weight gain and cardiovascular issues as well as an increased risk for diabetes. A 2011 review published in the journal Circulation stated that a positive association has been shown between sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption and weight gain in both children and adults. Nutritionists and doctors have advised that instead of adding artificial sweeteners to water and other beverages, flavor them with lemon or lime juice. Instead of drinking diet soda, opt for unsweetened tea or plain water. Although diet soda may seem a likely option to help curb calories and prevent weight gain, such beverages may actually be having an adverse effect on a person’s weight.
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Smart sugar substitutes for diabetics
onitoring glucose levels in the blood to ensure they are at an acceptable level is a vital task in a diabetic’s life. Unstable levels can mean the difference between living a healthy life or illness and even death. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated with plenty of water and possibly using medication or insulin injections are a few of the ways to maintain one’s glucose levels. When a diabetic eats, the sugar in his or her food is digested into glucose. Sugar is normally used by cells for energy. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas and helps to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats while removing excess glucose from the blood, which could prove toxic. Individuals who have no insulin production (type 1 diabetes) and those whose insulin is inefficient at moving sugar out of the bloodstream (type 2 diabetes) may have to take insulin and regulate their sugar intake to keep the body in balance.
Sugar substitutes mean that diabetics can occasionally indulge in sweet treats. Although having diabetes means a lifelong regimen of watching what you eat, it does not mean you can’t enjoy your diet. Thanks to a wide variety of sugar substitutes, most diabetics can indulge in desserts and other foods in moderation. For those ready to satisfy their sweet tooth, here are some sweeteners that are approved by the American Diabetes Association. Sucralose: This sweetener, which often goes by the brand name Splenda®, is one of the more popular supplements. The body does not
recognize sucralose as a carbohydrate or a sugar, which means it will not be metabolized as such. Sucralose is heat-resistant, which means it can be used for cooking and baking. Stevia: Relatively new to the commercial market, stevia is an all-natural sweetener, unlike many of the other sugar substitutes. It comes from a South American plant of the same name and has a strong track record of safety. The sweetener has zero calories and no glycemic index. Saccharine: Saccharine is also safe, but diabetics must only consume it in small amounts. It also can be mixed with hot or cold food. Aspartame: This sweetener also has zero calories and is found in many foods and beverages. However, aspartame is best avoided when baking because it loses sweetness when heated. Acesulfame potassium: A little goes a long way with this product because it is much sweeter than sugar. It is also usually combined with other sweeteners because it can have a bitter aftertaste. Not all sugar substitutes are good for diabetics, however. The Mayo Clinic warns that sugar alcohols, particularly mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol, can increase blood sugar levels. These products also may cause stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Before trying sugar substitutes, diabetics should consult with their physicians to see if it is safe and discuss potential side effects or usage restrictions, as some artificial sweeteners can cause allergic reactions in some people.
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Staying physically active as you age can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
lzheimer’s disease affects millions of people across the globe. In the United States alone, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates one in eight older men and women has the disease, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country. Few families have not been affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and many relatives of those with the disease fully understand the role family history can play. Research into the disease is ongoing, and it’s already yielded valuable information that may help reduce the prevalence of this devastating disease in the years to come.
How to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease One byproduct of researchers’ efforts is the discovery that it may be possible to prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease through the implementation of a combination of healthy lifestyle choices. The following are a few healthy habits that may help men and women reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s. Exercise regularly. A study conducted by Scottish researchers and published in the journal Neurology in 2012 touted exercise as the most effective way for adults to protect their brains from Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers examined roughly 700 70-year-old participants, all of whom were born in 1936, who were asked to report their levels of physical activity. Each participant then received an MRI at age 73. Those tests revealed that the participants who were more physically active showed less brain shrinkage and fewer white matter lesions, both of which are indicators of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation reports that physical exercise reduces a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 50 percent and can even slow further deterioration in those who have already begun to develop the cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s. Researchers continue to study the relationship between physical
activity and the development of Alzheimer’s diseases, but the evidence is mounting that regular exercise, regardless of a person’s age, is a great way to reduce risk for Alzheimer’s. Eat healthy. What you put into your body may also reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The brain operates at its best when it is fueled with a healthy diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein. A heart-healthy diet is also brainhealthy, and researchers have found a potential link between heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Researcher Larry Sparks of the Sun Health Research Institute in Arizona and formerly of the Kentucky medical examiner’s office studied brain tissues with a goal of finding early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. He discovered that those who had the telltale plaques of Alzheimer’s disease also had heart disease, suggesting heart disease may be a forerunner of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association feels this link between the two will only grow stronger in the years to come, suggesting that a heart-healthy diet that reduces a person’s risk of heart disease may also reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s down the road. More information on a heart-healthy diet is available at www.heart.org. Stimulate yourself mentally. Mental stimulation can help
the brain stay sharp, and men and women who find ways to stay mentally stimulated can reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Embrace activities that require communication and interaction with others, and find time for additional tasks that can stimulate your brain. These may include studying a foreign language, reading, trying your hand at mentally stimulating puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku, and other activities that emphasize organization. Such activities are essentially workouts for your brain that can help it stay sharp as you age. Remain socially active. Staying socially active into older adulthood is important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that research has indicated the brain functions better when men and women are not isolated from others. Memory and cognition are stronger when people remain socially active and engaged in their society, so retirees should look for ways to revive their social lives as a means to protecting their brains from the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Alzheimer’s disease remains an enigma in many ways. But ongoing research continues to show that men and women can take measures to actively prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and improve their quality of life as a result.
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eople take daily vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons. Many believe that vitamins will serve as an insurance policy of sorts should they not be consuming the necessary vitamins and minerals through their diets. Others believe that vitamin supplements will ease certain ailments or help prevent diseases, such as cancer. Beliefs such as these have helped the dietary supplements business become a billion-dollar industry. There have been many clinical studies conducted to look into the correlation between vitamin supplements and the prevention of certain types of cancer. Understanding the results can be confusing. There is no magic formula for consuming a broad-spectrum vitamin supplement to serve as a blanket remedy for preventing cancer. However, there have been some studies that show certain vitamins may help lower risk for specific cancers. For example, a study published in 2010 found women who had high levels of vitamin A and C in their bodies, whether from diet or supplement
use, had fewer cases of cervical cancer compared to women with lower levels of these vitamins. Vitamin B6 has been known to have various benefits, including reducing a person’s risk of developing lung, breast and colon cancer. Those with high blood levels of B6 have a lower risk, but there is no proof that taking B6 supplements will have the same benefits. Some studies indicate that vitamin E supplements may reduce men’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Studies in the 1970s suggested that high doses of vitamin C could be an alternative cancer treatment, says The Mayo Clinic. These findings were debunked when it was discovered the research methods used to reach the conclusions were flawed. Subsequent studies did not corroborate the 1970s results. However, more attention is now being paid to administering vitamin C intravenously, which has different effects than when the vitamin is taken orally. Until clinical trials are completed, researchers cannot say for sure if intravenous vitamin C will be the new all-natural cancer cure. It is important to note that taking vitamin supplements at the suggested levels recommended should be relatively safe for most people. Individuals should not super-dose vitamins in an effort to achieve better health results. Also, people should discuss any vitamin supplement use with doctors, as some supplements may cause potentially harmful interactions with certain medications.
Did you know?
A new study in the journal Neurology suggests that working out is the most effective way to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers studied roughly 700 study participants from Scotland, all of whom were born in 1936. Each participant reported their levels of leisure and physical activity at age 70, rating their physical activity on a scale from moving only to perform household chores to participating in heavy exercise or competitive sport several times per week. Participants were also asked to rate how often they engaged in social or intellectual activities. At age 73, participants received an MRI to measure certain biomarkers in their brains. Those who participated in more physical activity showed less brain shrinkage and fewer white matter lesions, both of which can be signs of Alzheimer’s disease. And while social and intellectual activities can be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, the study found that social and intellectual engagement weren’t as helpful to the brain as physical exercise. The types of physical exercise most beneficial to the brain are still being studied, though information presented at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference suggested that strength training is perhaps the most effective form of exercise.
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Stay healthy when the sick season of sneezes and sniffles arrives
he cold weather brings with it a season of smiles, the first snowfalls and, unfortunately, cold and flu outbreaks. While everyone else is suffering, there are ways you can make it through the season unscathed. It is estimated that a billion people across North America will succumb to the cold virus this year, says Medline. Considering there is no cure for cold and flu viruses, prevention remains a person’s best option at fending off cold and flu. There are different precautions to take that can help protect you against getting sick or at least reduce the frequency and severity with which cold and flu strikes. Although there is no magic pill to take that will prevent you from catching a cold or the flu, there are ways to improve your odds.
sanitizer. Surfaces to sanitize include phones, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, computer keyboards, faucets, toys, and countertops. Avoid sick people. KidsHealth.org states that flu viruses and colds can travel up to 12 feet (from a sneeze or cough). Steer clear of anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially someone who is frequently sneezing or coughing. Parents should keep children home from school if they are sick. Do so until symptoms subside so as not to infect others. Use a sanitizer product. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that when handwashing is not readily available, a good way to kill germs is to use an alcohol-based sanitizer lotion. While not as effective as washing hands in warm, soapy water, sanitizing products can be used in a pinch while you’re on the go.
Wash your hands the right way. Washing your hands frequently remains the single-best way to keep viruses and bacteria that can make you sick from infiltrating the body. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds can effectively remove any dirt, grime and invisible invaders.
Skip antibacterial products. Because colds and the flu are the result of viruses, which are different in behavior and structure from bacteria, they will not be killed off with the use of antibacterial products. What you may succeed in doing is killing off any beneficial bacteria on your hands as well as creating resistant bacteria that form with over-use of antibiotics and antibacterial products.
The elderly are more at risk for serious side effects from the cold and flu.
Get the flu shot. There is no vaccination to prevent the common cold, but there are immunizations that can help reduce your risk of getting the flu or help minimize its severity. Doctors’ offices, clinics and even pharmacies all offer annual flu shots.
Cough into your sleeve. Rather than coughing or sneezing into your hands, do so into the crook of your elbow since this area rarely touches anything else.
Skip the buffet lunch. Buffet-style offerings are convenient and offer variety, but they are also a breeding ground for illnesses. These foods may have been sneezed or coughed on. Also, the serving Use sanitizer on items around the house. Surfaces spoons have been touched by dozens of people. that are frequently touched by all members of the There are many different ways to avoid getting a cold household should be wiped down with a disinfectant or the flu this season. Diligence is one of the keys to product. A bleach-and-water solution is an effective staying germ-free.
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Psoriatic arthritis affects many people People who suffer from psoriasis or have a family history of this skin condition may be at risk for psoriatic arthritis, a serious disease that causes extensive swelling and joint pain. The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Education Center notes that up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition in which the skin reproduces cells at an accelerated rate. This causes patches of flaky, irritated skin, also known as plaques. Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but it is common between the ages of 30 and 50. Environmental factors, genes and immune system responses play a role in the onset of the disease. Patients with psoriatic arthritis can develop inflammation of their tendons, cartilage, eyes, lung lining, and sometimes aorta.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis do not necessarily occur at the same time. Psoriasis generally comes first and then is followed by the joint disease. The skin ailment precedes the arthritis in nearly 80 percent of patients. Psoriatic arthritis is a rheumatic disease that can affect body tissues as well as joints. Psoriatic arthritis shares many features with several other arthritic conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis and arthritis associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The rate of onset of psoriatic arthritis varies among people. For some it can develop slowly with mild symptoms. Others find it comes on quickly and is severe. Symptoms of the disease also vary, but may include the following; • generalized fatigue • swollen fingers and toes • stiffness, pain, throbbing,
swelling, and tenderness in joints • reduced range of motion • changes in fingernails • redness and pain of the eyes In many cases, psoriatic arthritis affects the distal joints, those that are closest to the nail in fingers and toes. The lower back, knees, ankles, and wrists also are affected. It is important to talk to a dermatologist if you suffer from psoriasis and also experience stiffness or pain in joints. This may be indicative that psoriatic arthritis is present. Treatments usually include a combination of medications and therapeutic exercises to reduce pain and swelling. NSAID pain relievers help but may be combined with stronger medications, such as corticosteroids, as well as medications that suppress the immune system.
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Understanding your risk for sleep apnea
leep apnea is a debilitating and lifeshortening ailment that affects millions of people across the globe, many of whom do not know they have this potentially dangerous condition. Understanding sleep apnea and its symptoms and risk factors is imperative for men and women who feel they have or may someday have sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea? The word “apnea” is Greek and means “without breath.” Sleep apnea occurs involuntarily and unexpectedly while a person is asleep. It causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping — sometimes hundreds of times a night — estimates the American Sleep Apnea Association. These moments of breathlessness can last a minute or longer and may not trigger a full awakening in a person. There are different types of sleep apnea. The main types are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive apnea is more common and occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep and inhibit air flow. With central sleep apnea, a person’s brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. During an episode of sleep apnea, the body may rouse itself partially to resume breathing but not enough to fully awaken the person. As a result, sleep may be very fragmented and sufferers could feel extremely tired during the day and not understand why.
Risk Factors Many people experience sleep apnea, though it may be more pronounced in certain groups of people. Those who are overweight may have obstructions to breathing. People with a thick neck also may have a narrower airway. Genetics also may play a role in a narrow airway in the throat or enlarged adenoids or tonsils that contribute to airway obstruction. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women, and men who are older than age 60 have an increased risk over younger men. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea over people who have never smoked. That’s because, according to the Mayo Clinic, inflammation and mucus retention may occur in the upper airway. People who naturally have difficulty breathing through the nose may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
Treatments After being tested for sleep apnea, which usually involves some sort of sleep test, whether at home or a nocturnal polysonmography that measures heart, lung and brain activity is conducted at a sleep center, a doctor may refer patients to an ear, nose Symptoms of Sleep Apnea and throat doctor if there is a physical obstruction Individuals who may be experiencing sleep apnea causing the apnea. Recommendations may include may have the following symptoms, according to The losing weight, quitting smoking and other lifestyle Mayo Clinic: changes if these are thought to be the primary • excessive daytime sleepiness causes behind the apnea. • loud snoring Therapies for obstructive sleep apnea can include • awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which • headaches in the morning uses a machine to deliver continuous air pressure • problems paying attention into the nose and mouth to keep air passages • difficulty staying asleep open. There are other air pressure devices as well. Others may notice a spouse or family member has Surgery, including implants or creating a new air sleep apnea by recognizing abrupt awakenings from passageway via a tracheostomy, may be necessary shortness of breath or intermittent pauses in his or in severe cases that don’t respond to other her breathing during sleep. Also, it is important to treatments. note that snoring may not be a sign of sleep apnea, Sleep apnea is not a condition to take lightly. It but very often loud snoring punctuated by periods of affects millions of people and requires action to silence is a pretty good indicator of apnea. prevent other maladies resulting from lack of oxygen to the body.
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New guidelines indicate annual Pap tests unnecessary
Women may be able to wait longer between Pap tests.
omen may sigh in relief because they won’t have to make the yearly trek to the gynecologist or family practitioner for a Pap test any longer. New information from medical groups states that by having pap smears in combination with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test, many women can safely spread out testing by five years. Recently, advice on having cervical cancer screenings has varied from medical expert to medical expert. Many advise women to get screened every one to three years. Now the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which published a new set of guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine, state that by undergoing both a Pap smear and an HPV test together, which has been dubbed “co-testing,” women ages 30 to 65 who have had negative results can wait another five years before the next test. The American Cancer Society is another organization issuing these revised guidelines. Experts advise that this
is the first time that co-testing has been suggested and widely pushed, although some doctors have been doing co-testing on their own for years. The change was based on information that showed more frequent testing for cervical cancer did not dramatically lower the numbers of those at risk. Although the tests are safe, fertility risks abound if further testing and procedures are done as the result of a positive Pap test, which can sometimes be inaccurate. Researchers have also found that many cases of cervical cancer are linked to HPV. Because cellular changes triggered from HPV are slow-moving, it is not vital to have annual testing. It is possible to find and treat the cancer before it becomes dangerous, even if 10 years have passed, says George Sawaya, M.D., professor in the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.
Although the guidelines are in place, many women may continue to have annual Pap smears, particularly because they are used to them and don’t want to risk their health. Those who do not rely on their gynecologists as their primary care providers may be more apt to wait longer intervals between testing. The Pap smear is named after George Papanicolaou, a Greek doctor who created the test in 1943 and suggested it could provide crucial early detection of cervical and uterine cancer. Pap tests became routine in 1955 and have reduced cervical cancer deaths by around 75 percent. Women who are uncertain about waiting longer than a year between Pap tests can discuss their concerns with their gynecologists or family doctors. Together they can weigh the pros and cons of adopting a new schedule for cervical cancer screenings.
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