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Sunday, June 19, 2011


Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Probiotics primer: Here’s the scoop on ‘good bacteria’

(ARA) — Most people think of bacteria as something that just makes you ill. Bacteria can be responsible for various illnesses and everyday annoyances. But not all bacteria are bad for you. In fact, without the bacteria that live in everyone’s digestive system, our bodies wouldn’t be able to properly process food. And by now, you’ve probably heard or seen advertisements for foods that contain probiotics — what many in the food and health-care industries call “good bacteria.” If most of what you know about probiotics comes from yogurt advertisements, you may — understandably — be skeptical about the bacteria’s health benefits. After all, the information came from a source that wants you to buy a probiotic product. Numerous independent researchers and health organizations, however, also back the value of probiotics. “Some evidence indicates that probiotic bacteria can enhance digestive function, which is intrinsic to overall health,” says Joy Dubost, Ph.D., a registered dietician and a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists. “However, with so much advertising and information on the topic, consumers may be confused about where to find probiotics, what their benefits are and how to incorporate these good bacteria into their lifestyles.” The food experts at IFT offer some sales-pitch-free insight into probiotics:

What are probiotics? Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to beneficial microorganisms that naturally live in our digestive system. There are two basic groups, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are further divided into species and strains, Dubost says. Researchers are examining hundreds of probiotic strains to determine what, if any, health benefits they provide.

What can they do for you? Evidence suggests that several strains of probiotics can help treat diarrhea (especially if it’s been caused by a rotavirus), constipation, urinary tract infections and irritable bowel syndrome. Some researchers also believe that by benefiting the gut, probiotics can also help support the immune system. “Those who suffer from chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome may find value in incorporating probiotics into their diets,” Dubost says.

Where can you find them? By now, you’re probably aware of advertisements for yogurt that contains probiotic bacteria. You can also find dietary supplements

that claim to have probiotics in them. As consumer interest in this beneficial bacteria has grown, so too have the number and variety of products that claim to provide a dose of probiotics, including cereal, juice, and granola. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not require food labels to show which strain or species of probiotic bacteria are in a product, so it can be difficult to find products that might help with certain digestive issues. If you’re interested in a specific product, consider contacting the manufacturer or going to the company’s website for more information on what strain of probiotics the product contains and what studies have been done on its health benefits.

What should you look for when selecting a food with probiotics? “Research into the health benefits of probiotics is really in its very early stages,” Dubost says. “More research is needed to really understand how these bacteria work, what their benefits are and what an effective ‘dose’ might be for a broad demographic of people who might wish to consume probiotics for their health benefits.” It’s currently unclear as to how much probiotics one needs to consume on a regular basis in

Without the bacteria that live in everyone’s digestive system, our bodies wouldn’t be able to properly process food. order to see the health benefits, and that amount could vary from person to person. But, Dubost says, symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, urinary tract infections or irritable bowel syndrome may ease in a week to two weeks if you take probiotics. If you don’t see benefits in that time frame, try a different strain. Try to determine

the probiotic bacteria and strain a product contains; that will help you know if it might be beneficial for your specific health needs. Finally, Dubost adds, look for probiotics in foods that offer other health benefits. Yogurt or milk that contain probiotics, for example, are also excellent sources of protein and calcium.

Easing the burn: recognize the causes of heartburn (MS) — After a big meal, many people experience a feeling of burning behind the breastbone that seems to extend all the way back up to the mouth. Although it feels like the heart and lungs are on fire, heartburn actually has nothing

to do with the heart at all. Heartburn can be a symptom of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. More than 60 million American adults experience acid reflux and heartburn at least once a month. Roughly 25 million

adults suffer daily from heartburn and experience severe refluxes. When stomach acid rises and comes in contact with the esophagus, or the tube in the throat that connects the mouth to the stomach, it can cause irritation. This

irritation creates a burning sensation. Sometimes a foul taste occurs in the mouth, and sometimes it can feel like food is at the back of the throat. Oftentimes, making dietary changes or modifications to habits can alleviate

heartburn. Other ways to alleviate symptoms include: • Eat smaller meals and more slowly. • Don’t eat large meals before bed. Wait at least three hours after eating to retire for the night.

• Stop smoking because nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. • Wear looser-fitting clothes. • Lose weight because even a few extra pounds can contribute to heartburn.

The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Sunday, June 19, 2011


10 ways to prevent hearing loss (ARA) — Hearing loss affects more than 34 million Americans. If detected early, it may be a preventable chronic disease. Here are 10 ways to help prevent, delay or reduce the extent of hearing loss. 1. Noise exposure. Are you one of the more than 22 million American workers exposed to excessive levels of noise in the workplace? Are you one of those listening to iPods, shooting firearms, riding motorbikes, or working with lawn and garden tools? These devices are causing hearing loss at alarmingly high rates. Excessive noise is painless, progressive, permanent and preventable. Noise exposure is the second most common cause of hearing loss worldwide and is the most preventable. You should wear hearing protectors or avoid exposure to loud sounds. Turn down the volume and reduce the length of time you listen to your iPod or mp3 player. Studies show that people who wear noise canceling or noise reduction earphones with iPod or mp3 players typically listen to music at safer levels. 2. Cotton swabs. Why take a chance on making matters worse? Cotton swabs and ear candling are unhealthy practices to remove earwax, to clean or scratch your ear canals. Don’t use cotton swabs to clean inside your ear canal. It can push the earwax in further and you could puncture your eardrum. 3. Smoking. Smoking tobacco and second-hand

Hearing loss affects more than 34 million Americans. If detected early, it may be a preventable chronic disease. smoke can contribute to hearing loss. Studies suggest that chronic nicotine exposure impairs the brain’s ability to “hear” and interpret sound. Along with the other reasons to stop smoking, you can reduce your likelihood of greater hearing loss if you quit or stay out of smoky places. 4. Diabetes. Diabetics are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining proper weight and daily exercise can help you avoid type 2 diabetes. 5. Alcohol. Too much alcohol can contribute to permanent hearing loss. Recently, researchers found that drinking two beers in a half an hour can cause temporary hearing loss for up to 16 hours. 6. Solvents. Avoid organic solvents. Organic solvents (such as styrene and toluene) are commonly found in paints,

lacquers and industrial printing inks. Studies have shown that these substances have a negative effect on your hearing. 7. Medications. There

are at least 96 different drugs that may cause permanent or temporary hearing loss. When you stop taking aspirin and aspirin-containing drugs,

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your hearing may come back. Excessive use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cisplatin (a cancer drug) and erectile dysfunction drugs can also cause hearing loss. 8. Antioxidants. Antioxidants and vitamin supplements may help prevent hearing loss. Hearing loss due to aging may be prevented with a combination of antioxidants, mineral and vitamin supplements such as folic acid and magnesium. A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and meats may protect hearing in later life. 9. Your heart. Maintain a healthy cardio-

vascular system. There is a strong correlation between heart health and good hearing. Newly published reports show that a healthy cardiovascular system increases the likelihood of maintaining hearing, particularly among older adults. 10. See an audiologist. If you think you may have hearing loss, an audiologist will test, monitor and offer solutions to help you function better. An audiologist is a licensed health care provider who is trained to diagnose and manage your loss, as well as offer preventative measures.

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Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Treatments can help those with diabetic nerve pain (ARA) — In the United States alone 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes. About 25 percent of those with diabetes have pain and numbness from nerve damage which can be disruptive to living a normal life. The good news is new treatments and strategies can help eliminate this pain today and in the future. Diabetic nerve pain, or neuropathy, is caused by nerve damage over time. This neurologic disorder most often affects the hands and feet. Pain can be a tingling, burning or cramping that disrupts a person’s ability to do everyday activities.

Because nerve fibers are very sensitive to high levels of blood sugar, diabetic nerve damage typically occurs slowly. Your risk for diabetic nerve pain is higher if you: • Have poor blood sugar control • Have had diabetes a long time • Have high blood pressure • Smoke • Are tall “When neuropathy strikes, it is painful and can disrupt sleep; because of this it can also lead to mood changes and lower quality of life,â€? said Dr. Vera Bril, a neurologist with the University of Toronto.

“Diabetic nerve pain is often unreported and more often untreated, with an estimated two out of five cases not receiving care.� Bril is the lead author of new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology that outline the most effective treatments for diabetic nerve pain. In addition to taking preventive steps like managing blood sugar levels, eating healthy and exercising, the guidelines found that a number of drugs may also help relieve diabetic nerve pain. According to the guidelines, strong evidence shows the seizure drug pregabalin is effective in treating diabetic nerve pain and can

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improve quality of life; however, doctors should determine if it is appropriate for their patients on a case-bycase basis. In addition, the guideline found that several other treatments are probably effective and should be considered, including the seizure drugs gabapentin and valproate, antidepressants such as venlafaxine, duloxetine and amitriptyline and painkillers such as opioids and capsaicin. The guideline also studied a number of non-medi-

cine treatments. Only one — transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or TENS, a widely used pain therapy involving a portable device — was found to help relieve diabetic nerve pain. The nerves to the feet are the longest in the body, and this is why the feet are most affected by diabetesrelated nerve pain. In order to take good care of your feet, consider the following steps: • Keep toenails trimmed and filed smooth.

• Clean feet daily using warm water and mild soap. • Check feet and toes daily for cuts, blisters or other problems. • Wear shoes outside and slippers inside to protect feet from injury. • Make sure shoes fit well and don’t cramp feet. Nerve pain is a chronic problem for many people who suffer from diabetes. Visit patients for more information.

Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Five myths about weight loss in men (ARA) — For many men, starting a weight loss regimen may seem unnecessary and cumbersome. If you’re like a lot of guys, you may be thinking that losing weight is a matter of staying active, and watching what you eat is more work than it’s worth. While men might think that weight loss plans are something better suited for women, the statistics show men are more likely to be overweight than their female counterparts. Where 72 percent of American males are overweight, 64 percent of women can be considered overweight, according to the most recent prevalence and trends report on obesity published in a 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Seeing the need to provide men with a no-nonsense approach to losing weight, Weight Watchers recently launched its first national advertising campaign targeted directly at men. If you’re a man who would like to shed a few pounds, but has previously been averse to trying a weight loss plan, it may not be as bad as you might think. Here are a few myths about male weight loss that may cause men to avoid eating healthier and the truth behind them. Myth: Men only need to exercise to lose weight.

Reality: Unless you are working out for hours each day, simply working out and not worrying how many calories you consume is not a good plan for shedding pounds. The fact is, burning calories through exercise takes a lot longer than it does to consume them. A 200-pound man will burn about 450 calories during a three-mile run, according to Runner’s World. An average hamburger or piece of cake contains about the same amount of calories. Myth: Low-fat or low-carb automatically means healthier. Reality: While overloading on fats and carbohydrates will likely lead to weight gain, both play an important role in healthy eating. Fats a nd carbohydrates are also not created equal — for instance, trans- and saturated fats can increase your cholesterol while unsaturated fats can have the opposite effect. The key to healthy eating is getting the right balance of both. Myth: Losing weight means you have to eliminate alcohol. Reality: It’s true that consuming too many alcoholic beverages can lead to weight gain, but consuming in moderation can be part of a healthy diet, as long as you count those calories along with what you are eating.

Myth: Watching what you eat means you have to give up red meat. Reality: Some cuts of meat may contain a lot of fat, but there are also a lot of lean red meat options, which contain beneficial protein, iron, zinc and vitamins. Myth: Weight loss works the same for everyone. Reality: Your ability to lose weight depends on many factors, and every person’s metabolism is unique. Men generally tend to lose weight faster than women due to their body composition and men also tend to be more physically active, therefore burning more calories. While you might think that following a weight loss plan is a lot of work, it’s never been easier, as a plan like Weight Watchers Online For Men allows men to follow the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program entirely online and offers mobile applications that can help you keep track of what you are eating when you are on the go. To learn more about the men’s plan, visit Losing weight doesn’t have to mean giving up the foods you like for the latest fad diet, but simply being more aware of what you are putting into your body. Finding a plan that can more easily help you track your progress can make your weight loss goals achievable.

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Health & Fitness

The Daily Dispatch

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Uncertainty of fibromyalgia takes a toll on work and social life

(ARA) — Julianna Mendelsohn spent two years in so much chronic widespread pain that she had trouble meeting with friends, exercising and even had difficulty working. Worst of all, no doctor could figure out what was wrong with her. Mendelsohn, now 30, suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness, decreased physical function and other symptoms. Fibromyalgia affects approximately two to four percent of the U.S. population or up to 12 million Americans, mostly women. A new national survey conducted by reveals that 85 percent of sufferers consider the condition a burden that makes it difficult for them to work, maintain relationships and keep up

Fibromyalgia affects approximately two to four percent of the U.S. population or up to 12 million Americans, most of whom are women. their households. More than half of sufferers were not properly diagnosed until a year or more after symptoms first appeared, and 64 percent were concerned that their condition is not taken seriously. Julianna first started feeling the widespread pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia in 2007. It was not only the intensity of the pain that caused her to quit her part-time job and drop one of her graduate classes, it was also the uncertainty of when the pain would recur.

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“The pain from fibromyalgia was unexpected,” said Julianna. “I simply did not know how I would feel from one day to the next. There were times when I couldn’t even do the simplest tasks, like raise my arms to wash my hair.” According to the survey, fibromyalgia can challenge relationships and limit intimacy. Many women spend less quality time with their friends (42 percent) and family (29 percent). Nearly one-third (31 percent) even have trouble being intimate with their partners.

However, like the 91 percent of women in the survey, Julianna felt relieved when her condition was finally diagnosed and she could start a treatment plan, which included an FDAapproved fibromyalgia medication, as well as non-medication therapies. “I noticed a difference,” she said. “It became easier to get back to my daily routine, including swimming, an activity I had given up because of fibromyalgia.” “Since being diagnosed and beginning a treatment plan, I try

to do as much as possible within my limits because I feel better when I’m active,” she says., the nation’s leading independent health information source for women, commissioned Edelman StrategyOne to conduct an online survey among 508 diagnosed, female fibromyalgia sufferers in the U.S. between May 5-11, 2010. The survey was sponsored by Forest Laboratories Inc. Results of the Women Expressing Fibromyalgia’s Effects on their Everyday Lives (WE FEEL) survey reveals constructive, concrete ways to help ease suffering, including an earlier diagnosis and access to information and support. For more information visit and

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Sunday, June 19, 2011


Garden advice: avoiding injury and discomfort (ARA) — Warm weather is here and it’s time to get the garden going. Gardening is good for you on many levels — from the mental health boost you get from doing something relaxing to the physical benefits of exercise, time outdoors and adding fresh vegetables to your diet. Bending over to weed, gripping gardening tools and the general physical effort of gardening, however, can make existing aches and pains worse, or even cause new ones. This summer, take steps to ensure your gardening experience is as comfortable and beneficial as possible. Here are some ideas for avoiding injury and irritating existing conditions while gardening: • Warm up: You wouldn’t go jogging or work out without doing some light stretching and warm-up exercises, and you shouldn’t jump into gardening without warming up first. Before stepping into your garden, do some stretches to limber up, especially your arms, legs and back. When you’ve completed your gardening chores for the day, finish up with more stretching. • Banish bending: Many Americans suffer from chronic back pain, and while it’s important to keep moving despite discomfort, it makes sense to minimize activities that could create or worsen pain. Bend-

ing over to work in the garden can be hard on your back. If back pain is a concern, consider planting your garden in raised beds this year, or working with container gardens. Elevated beds require you to bend less when doing typical gardening chores. And container gardens can be placed on tables or deck railings to make it easy to reach plants. • Protect hands and wrists: Weeding, hoeing, raking, shoveling — the repetitive motions of gardening can lead to hand and wrist pain, and worsen existing conditions such as arthritis. Taking steps to minimize irritation and discomfort while you work can help ensure your gardening tasks don’t create aches or worsen pain. Consider wearing an Arthritis Glove, like the Imak-made glove commended by the Arthritis Foundation, to provide mild compression and warmth while you work. Because the gloves are made of cotton Lycra with an open fingertip design, they won’t make your hands hot or hinder movement. Designed by an orthopedic surgeon, the Arthritis Gloves are also fully washable, so you don’t have to worry about getting a little dirt on them as you go about your gardening tasks. An added bonus — wearing any kind of glove can help you avoid another common gardening injury: blisters.

• Guard skin: Sunburn and insect bites are also a risk for gardeners, who spend a lot of time outdoors. While most insect bites are just an irritation, sunburn can cause serious, long-term skin damage. To ward off mosquitoes and other biting bugs, apply an insect repellent. Prevent sunburn by always wearing sunscreen — the kind that blocks both UVA and UVB rays — whenever you’re outdoors. Use a wide-brimmed, lightweight hat to shade your eyes and keep the sun off your head. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water, especially on hot days when you’ll be out for several hours. • Move wisely: Lifting can be another source of back pain, and gardening often involves lifting, whether it’s heavy bags of soil or seed, or a full basket of the fruits of your labor. Remember to lift from a squatting position, with your back straight, so that your legs do the work, not your back. When kneeling down, use gardening knee pads or even just a rolled up towel to cushion your joints from the hard, damp ground. Remember to minimize twisting motions that can inure your back and joints. With a few precautions, you can ensure this summer’s gardening activities remain safe, enjoyable and pain free.

This summer, take steps to ensure your gardening experience is as comfortable — and free of injury — as possible.

On the road: Tips to enjoy your most nutritious summer vacation (ARA) — While grabbing your friends or family and heading out for time away may be great for enjoying all that summer has to offer, it’s usually never good for the waistline. Busy travelers often opt for convenience over nutrition, filling up on high-calorie foods that have little to no nutritional value. But with a little pre-planning, you can choose to avoid the food option pitfalls that frustrate even the savviest travelers. Recent changes to the USDA’s

Dietary Guidelines have empowered consumers to adopt new habits to help improve their overall health. Before traveling this summer, note some easy ways to make better choices and ways to make these habits stick: • All about packing: Your suitcase isn’t the only thing you should be packing the night before a trip. Grab a soft-sided cooler that can fit in your car or inside your carry-on, and fill it with heart-healthy foods like blueberries and protein-packed

snacks that will keep you energized and full. • The breakfast dilemma: Despite the convenience, skip the breakfast buffet and instead stock your hotel room mini-fridge with goodies to keep you going throughout your trip. After you check in, head to the nearest grocery store to stock up on fresh apples or oranges and low-fat yogurt with granola to get your day started right, and load up on items for a healthy lunch like lean proteins, whole grains, nuts

and fresh veggies. In fact, some even come pre-chopped for your convenience. • A little H2O goes a long way: Water, water and more water. It keeps us hydrated, full, and wards off travel-induced ailments like headaches and illness. Don’t want to carry a whole bottle? Load up on portable fruits and veggies — like single servings of carrots — with a high water content and steer clear of caffeine and sugary beverages.

• Keeping fit on the road: Sometimes diet traps are unavoidable, so it’s important to read labels and pay attention to portion sizes. Of course, it’s also just as easy to add a little exercise into your trip to burn off the excess calories — go on a guided walking tour, walk up and down the airport terminal, or do a few laps in the hotel swimming pool. For more information about other nutritious snacking options, including the full line of ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars, visit


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HealtH & Fitness

sunDay, June 19, 2011

Warning: Lack of salt can be hazardous to your health (ARA) — Audrey Baker grew up watching her mother put table salt on nearly everything — steak, potatoes, even gravy. Believing the nutrition myth that salt is bad for health, Baker sometimes scolded her Mom for her salty, old-fashioned ways. As an adult, Baker carefully monitored what she ate, putting herself on a low-salt diet with lots of water. But one day at home, she became light-headed. Her heart raced, her chest pounded. She called 911 and was rushed to an emergency room. The problem: hyponatremia, a more-common-than-you-mightthink condition in which the blood level of salt (sodium) in your body becomes abnormally low. “That’s when I realized my body does need salt,” says Baker. “They gave me a saline solution drip with

sodium in it. It perked me right up. I felt terrific.” Baker isn’t the only person surprised to learn that salt is an essential nutrient. In many ways, it’s this simple: without it, you die; with it you can thrive. Still, controversy remains about the best level of sodium in our bodies. Baker’s experience illustrates an important message when it comes to low-sodium diets: don’t assume a low sodium diet is beneficial to everyone in general and to you in particular. Also, don’t adopt a lowsodium diet until you’ve discussed its potential risks and benefits with your doctor. A May 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) confirmed that cutting back on salt can indeed be hazardous to your health. More specifically, the study

found that even modest reductions in salt intake are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The study debunks claims made by anti-salt advocates that a population-wide reduction in sodium consumption would benefit public health. In their conclusion, the study’s authors were clear, if not blunt, that trying to get everyone to cut back on salt is a bad idea: “Taken together, our current findings refute the estimates of computer models of lives saved and health care costs reduced with lower salt intake. They do also not support the current recommendations of a generalized and indiscriminate reduction of salt intake at the population level.” This is hardly the first medical study at odds with the conventional wisdom of the anti-salt movement.

Other studies show: • Low-salt diet leads to higher mortality: An examination of the largest U.S. federal database of nutrition and health (NHANES), published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found a higher rate of cardiac events and death with patients put on low-salt diets — a result perfectly consistent with the latest study. • Risk of diabetes: A 2010 Harvard study linked low-salt diets to an increase in insulin resistance, the condition that is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. Recent studies out of Australia show that individuals with type I or type II diabetes die in much greater numbers when placed on a salt restricted diet. • Falls, cognitive problems among elderly: Because of declining renal function in the aging body, the kidneys retain less

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sodium. Recent studies have shown that elderly people with hyponatremia have more falls and broken hips and a decrease in cognitive abilities. • Low birth weights, poor brain development: A 2007 study found that babies with low birth weight are also born with low sodium in their blood serum because their mothers were on lowsalt intakes. Another study found that infants with low sodium may be predisposed to poor neuro-developmental function a decade later between the ages of 10 and 13. No one has to convince Baker about the dangers of a sodiumrestricted diet. Working with her doctor, Baker has changed how she eats, choosing products with sodium throughout the day and, yes, using table salt, just as her mother used to.

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Walking for health starts with small steps (ARA) — From drive-through dining to online shopping, people are always looking for ways to cut out an extra step to make things easier and faster. When it comes to developing healthier habits, however, adding extra steps — literally — may help a person get on the path to a healthier lifestyle. In fact, research has shown that 90 percent of people who have kept weight off successfully include regular activity in their lives. The recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise reducing calorie consumption, focusing on nutrientdense foods, and increasing physical activity to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and reduce the risk of weight-related chronic diseases. Even if you believe in the benefits of walking, like burning calories and toning, it can sometimes be challenging to know

how to incorporate this most natural form of exercise into a busy lifestyle. Weight Watchers International Inc. is once again launching its popular Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge this spring — and offers some tips to getting started and staying motivated: • Make an appointment. Stick to a regular time every day and put “exercise appointments” on your paper or electronic calendar. If you are a beginner, start out with just 10 minute walks. Add five to 10 minutes to your appointment each week with a goal of completing 45-minute walks within six weeks. • Open a “fitness checking account.” For those with busy schedules, challenged to find a slot of 30 minutes to exercise, break it up throughout the day. Spend 10 minutes at lunch walking the parking lot. Power shop

for 10 minutes at the grocery store. Add another 10 minutes to the walk to get the mail. Just like money, whether it’s one big deposit or three small deposits, all denominations add up. • Form a walking group. Whether it’s with friends or family members, committing to a walking group provides a built-in source of accountability and can make exercise more fun. There are also established walking clubs in most communities. • Commit to a walk. Explore walks taking place in your area or map out a route for your own 5K.

When it comes to developing healthier habits, however, adding extra steps — literally — may help a person get on the path to a healthier lifestyle.


The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stress and food — tips for curbing cravings (ARA) — Everyone reaches for comfort foods and junk food when stressed out. You know you shouldn’t, but you probably feel you need something to help you during that intense period of time when stress is king. “In moments of stress, people tend to reach for foods they know, sometimes even favorite foods from childhood. It is certainly not a time when we choose to experiment,” says Chef Odette Smith-Ransom, chef instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. If traveling, you may often search for a familiar restaurant or fast food place. It’s easier to reach for food that you know provides a level of comfort to balance out the uncomfortable mo-

ments of stress, Smith-Ransom says. It all comes down to food choices where stress and food are concerned. When stressed, you are more likely to make a quick, bad choice. “The vicious cycle of guilt regarding our eating habits steps in and worsens the current stress situation,” Smith-Ransome says. “Add guilt to the situation, and the stress levels increase — compounding the problem.” Chef Smith-Ransom warns that when stressed, one should stay away from caffeine and sugar. It’s easy to grab an energy drink or a candy bar because they’re accessible and in every convenience and drug store in America. Once the rush is gone from

sugary, caffeine-packed foods, you’re facing a crash unless you continue to eat and drink to keep your body in the high. Continuing to eat and drink these products will compound the situation even more because you then become sleep-deprived, which raises the levels of anxiety and slows you down. The best way to attack bad eating choices during a moment of stress is to maintain your body and mind at equilibrium. Before an important interview, presentation or exam, try eating whole foods and complete meals, and forget about the bag of cookies. While these satiate the appetite at the moment, it certainly won’t keep your blood-sugar levels stable, making it difficult to

cope with your initial problem: high stress. “Eat dark, leafy greens, high fiber foods and lean cuts of protein as a complete meal,” says nutritionist and public health expert, Nicole Dowsett, a nutrition instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Charlotte. She recommends staying away from heavily seasoned foods and eating four to six small meals a day. “Take time to eat and avoid grabbing something on the go to just stuff your face.” It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate with your mind that you are full. Making time to eat is very important. If you can, share meals with friends or loved ones, Dowsett says. Sharing meals helps

you to take your time and deters you from making bad choices, or even worse yet, hiding your unhealthy food choices — which can lead to an eating disorder. “High stress mixed with bad food choices can cause and increase behavioral issues, sleep deprivation, problems focusing, over-thinking tasks without developing a clear focus, inability to prioritize, reduced cognitive skills, heightened sensitivity and heightened emotions,” Dowsett says. By making informed, careful food choices during times of stress, you can help ensure what you eat doesn’t add extra calories, fat and poor nutrition to your worries. To learn about The Art Institutes visit www.artinstitutes. edu/nz.

Get Your Fitness Program on the Right Track

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The Daily Dispatch

Health & Fitness

Five simple screenings to get on the path to a healthy life

(ARA) — One in two Americans is living with a chronic disease. Chronic diseases are persistent and recurring, and are typically either hereditary or the result of factors such as poor diet, obesity or lack of exercise. “Unfortunately, many Americans postpone or even skip key health screenings due to fear, lack of awareness, or cost concerns,” says Dr. Ian Smith, creator and founder of “The 50 Million Pound Challenge” and “The Makeover Mile.” “However, it’s important to know your risk so you can make the appropriate lifestyle modifications.” Smith recommends five simple screenings:

Diabetes A simple finger prick is all that is needed to check your blood glucose levels to see if

you are at risk for diabetes. If your blood glucose test shows that you are at risk for diabetes, your doctor will work with you to make certain lifestyle changes, particularly involving diet and exercise.

Blood pressure Blood pressure is measured by a quick, painless test using a rubber cuff that is wrapped around the upper arm and inflated. If your blood pressure is consistently high, your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercise, a healthy diet, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and/or recommend a maintenance medication.

Cholesterol Even though high cholesterol may lead to serious heart disease, most of the time there are no symptoms.

A rapid cholesterol test involves just a simple blood sample from the finger. As with diabetes and blood pressure, lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight loss, maintaining a healthy diet, and quitting smoking are recommended if your cholesterol levels are not within a healthy range. A maintenance medication may also be needed to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.

Other important screenings Two other important screenings: a simple bone mineral density test, done via low-dose X-rays, determines whether or not you are at risk for osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become fragile and more likely to break. Additionally, a vision screening can help identify whether or not you are at risk for eye disease.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

WARREN COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT 544 West Ridgeway Street • Warrenton, NC 27589 252-257-1185 • Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



















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The Daily Dispatch: Health & Fitness: June 19, 2011