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Recipes Revisited

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Managing Metabolism

How to make your favorite recipes healthier

Easy ways to improve memory

Healthy ways to speed up your metabolism

presented by The Claremore Daily Progress


THE CLAREMORE DAILY PROGRESS |

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12 Can diet soda cause weight gain? 9 Smart sugar substitutes for diabetics 5 Successfully fend off 17 How to reduce your risk for workplace fatigue Alzheimer’s disease 6 Exercising outside of the 15 Vitamins and cancer prevention box - Simple ways to incorporate exercise into 17 Stay healthy when the sick season your daily rountine of sneezes and sniffles arrives 10 Stock your pantry with 19 New guidelines indicate annual these food staples Pap tests unnecessary 12 Make your favorite recipes 18 Ways pets could improve healthier personal health


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THE CLAREMORE DAILY PROGRESS |

Successfully fend off workplace fatigue 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.

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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 erformance 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.

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.

Leaving the office to take a brief, yet brisk, walk is one way to combat fatigue during the workday.

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Exercising outside of the box Simple ways to incorporate exercise into your unwind, but it can be a great time getting to the gym every daily routine Though day or even making use of exercise to squeeze in some daily exercise as well. Opinions as to what’s the Forgoing the elevator in favor of the stairs is one way to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine.

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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.

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.

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 Turn TV time into treadmill time. incorporates exercise into a typical Watching a little television at night business meeting. Rather than conducting the meeting in a is how many people relax and

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THE CLAREMORE DAILY PROGRESS | 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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Smart sugar substitutes for diabetics Sugar substitutes mean that diabetics can occasionally indulge in sweet treats.

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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.

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.

Did you know? Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a disease that affects the part of the back of the eye called the macula. This may cause the center part of a person's vision to become blurry or wavy. It also can cause a blind spot in the center of vision, according to Prevent Blindness America. More than two million Americans ages 50 and over have AMD, a 25 percent increase from the previous decade, according to Prevent Blindness America. AMDis also one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Although anyone can experience AMD, and it's most prevalent in people ages 65 and older. Gender also plays a key role in a person's risk for AMD. According to the National Eye Institute, women have a higher risk for AMD, and it may be traced to a reduction in estrogen production after menopause.

In a study titled, "Menopausal and Reproductive Factors and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration" by Diane Feskanish of Brigham and Women's Hospital that was published in the April 2008issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers found that women who used oral contraceptives before menopause and received hormone replacement therapy after menopause had the lowest risk for wet, or advanced, AMD. But these results came at a price. The same women who had lower incidences of wet AMD saw increased incidences of early, or dry, AMD when taking hormones. Although more research needs to be done, estrogen seems to play some type of role in the formation of AMD. An eye doctor can assess visual acuity at routine visits. You can also test your eyes daily by using the Amsler Grid, an AMD detection tool, and reporting any anomalies to your eye doctor.


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Stock your pantry with these food staples W

hen hunger pangs arrive and you head to the kitchen to prepare a meal or a snack, it helps to have healthy foods on hand so that you can fill up without filling out your clothes. Sugary or fattening foods may be popular snacks, but consuming too many of these items can cause health implications, including weight gain, that could last for years. Although health experts tout certain “super foods� that are essential for the body, there are run-of-themill foods that are far less glamorous but pack their own healthy punch and are much more readily available. When making your next shopping list, be sure to add these items.

Rice: Starchy rice is a versatile food that can accompany many meals. Whether served as a side dish or on its own or with some broth in a soup, rice can help satisfy hunger and keep the stomach feeling full. Brown rice is a healthier option than processed white rice. Rice is also gentle on the stomach for people who need to consume bland diets due to any gastrointestinal ailments. Another advantage to rice is that it stores well and will not go bad, so you can stock up.

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Low-fat yogurt: Yogurt can be enjoyed as a snack any time of the day. Rich in calcium and healthy probiotics, yogurt can even replace certain ingredients in recipes, including creams and sour cream. As a dessert, yogurt is a better option than more fattening puddings or ice cream. Thicker varieties of yogurt can help you feel fuller, longer. Unsalted nuts: An excellent protein-rich snack, nuts can be the go-to food when you need a nutritional pick-me-up. Although they tend to be high in fat, much of the fat content is unsaturated fat that is rich in omega acids necessary for cardiovascular and neurological health. Nuts can be sprinkled on salads or served with cheeses to make meals more satisfying. Canned or dried fruits: Fruits that are packed in natural fruit juices are just as healthy as fresh produce. However, they can be stored for longer periods of time without spoiling. Many people do not consume the recommended servings of fruit, and having canned or individually packaged fruit cups available makes it easy to include fruit in your diet. Fruits are full of required vitamins and are


THE CLAREMORE DAILY PROGRESS | Lemons or lemon juice: Rather than seasoning foods with salt and butter, lemon juice is a tasty flavoring that lends itself well to many types of foods. Lemons and limes contain limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin Beans and legumes: These foods are C, all of which help reduce your risk of cancer. high in protein as well as fiber, a natural fiber source to keep digestion in check. Dried fruits can be added to nuts to make a healthy trail mix. Raisins, for example, are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen.

generally in a low-calorie package. Beans and legumes can replace meats as a protein source in many meals when the goal is to reduce caloric and fat intake. Beans can be used to thicken sauces or make foods more hearty, helping to stretch them further.

Cranberry juice: In addition to being an antioxidant, 100 percent cranberry juice helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. The juice can be consumed on its own or diluted to add a splash of flavor to water.

Vegetables: Whether fresh or frozen, vegetables are a must-have staple. Vegetables are ripe with vitamins and minerals, and pack a lot of punch with very low calories and fat. People need not worry about filling up on vegetables, and they’re one of the snacks that can be eaten in abundance without worry of racking up a lot of calories. Aim to have half of your plate filled with vegetables at every meal, which will keep you full.

Figs: Many people underestimate the nutritional value of figs. Figs can be eaten fresh off of the tree. Think about adding mashed figs to batters for healthier breads or even desserts. A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which produces mood-boosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol and preventing water retention.

• Lean protein sources: Fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat are often the basis for meals. They can be kept and enjoyed in moderation. Rich cuts of pork and beef may be flavorful but are high in saturated fats.

There are many healthy and versatile foods that can be stored in the pantry without spoiling. They make for quick snacks and help keep you feeling fuller, longer.

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Make your favorite recipes healthier A

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 high-risk 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 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.

Can diet soda cause weight gain? what you are eating that can cause weight gain but what the body thinks it is eating (or drinking) that plays a role. There are two factors at play with regard to the artificial sweetener conundrum. First, The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio has researched the potential link between obesity and artificial sweeteners. Researchers have found that something in the chemical structure of these sweeteners alters or decades, people have turned to the way the brain processes the neurotransmitter serotonin. In addition diet soft drinks as a healthier to helping with sleep, mood and other alternative to regular soft drinks. functions in the body, serotonin helps However, consuming diet soda on a tell the body when it is full. When regular basis may have some serious natural foods and sugars are health ramifications, including weight consumed, serotonin signals to the gain. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest brain to turn off your body’s appetite. that diet sodas may be causing people However, artificial sweeteners may prolong the release of serotonin, and to gain weight, particularly because your appetite remains in full force long these sodas are commonly consumed by people who are trying to lose weight. after it should have abated. However, artificial sweeteners found in Another component of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, is some diet sodas may increase a person’s risk of obesity. It’s not entirely that these chemicals can trick the body

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into thinking it has, in fact, consumed sugar. That triggers the pancreas to produce the insulin needed to regulate blood-glucose levels. It also causes the body to store the glucose as fat. This can lead to low blood sugar, which may cause you to eat a sugary treat in response. Having diet soda or eating a sugarless item once in a while won’t create any long-term effects. But repeatedly relying on artificial 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 sugarsweetened 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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Vitamins and cancer prevention

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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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How to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease Staying physically active as you age can prevent or delay the onset of 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.

diet is also brain-healthy, 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.

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 Stimulate yourself mentally. Mental stimulation can help the prevent or delay the onset of brain stay sharp, and men and Alzheimer’s disease and improve their quality of life as women who find ways to stay mentally stimulated can reduce a result. Eat healthy. What you put into their risk of developing your body may also reduce your Alzheimer’s. Embrace activities that require risk for Alzheimer’s disease. communication and interaction The brain operates at its best with others, and find time for when it is fueled with a healthy diet that includes fresh fruit and additional tasks that can stimulate your brain. These vegetables, healthy fats and may include studying a foreign lean protein. A heart-healthy

Stay healthy when the sick season of sneezes and sniffles arrives

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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. Wash your hands the right way. Washing your hands frequently remains the singlebest way to keep viruses and bacteria that

Use sanitizer on items around the house. Surfaces that are frequently touched by all members of the household should be wiped down with a disinfectant product. A bleachand-water solution is an effective sanitizer. Skip antibacterial products. Because colds Surfaces to sanitize include phones, and the flu are the result of viruses, which are doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, different in behavior and structure from bacteria, computer keyboards, faucets, toys, and they will not be killed off with the use of countertops. antibacterial products. What you may succeed in doing is killing off any beneficial bacteria on your Avoid sick people. KidsHealth.org states hands as well as creating resistant bacteria that that flu viruses and colds can travel up to 12 feet (from a sneeze or cough). Steer clear of form with over-use of antibiotics and anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially antibacterial products. someone who is frequently sneezing or Get the flu shot. There is no vaccination to coughing. Parents should keep children home prevent the common cold, but there are from school if they are sick. Do so until immunizations that can help reduce your risk of symptoms subside so as not to infect others. getting the flu or help minimize its severity. Doctors’ offices, clinics and even pharmacies all Use a sanitizer product. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that offer annual flu shots. when hand-washing is not readily available, a good way to kill germs is to use an alcohol-

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.

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. 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. Buffetstyle 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 spoons have been touched by dozens of people. There are many different ways to avoid getting a cold or the flu this season. Diligence is one of the keys to staying germ-free.


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Ways pets could improve personal health

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ather than heading to the pharmacy for solutions to common ailments, a majority of people may be able to stop at the nearest pet store or animal shelter and find a finned or furry remedy instead. Studies that link positive health benefits to pet ownership abound. According to WebMD, one study found that 48 stockbrokers who adopted a pet experienced lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people who did not own pets. Another study found that individuals suffering from serious diseases, such as cancer or AIDS, are far less likely to experience depression if they have a strong tie to a pet. Plus, pets have proven beneficial to seniors struggling with loneliness. Any pet can try a person’s patience at times, expecially when a kitty has used a sofa as a scratching post or when a pooch needs to be let into the yard at 3 a.m. But for many pet owners, the benefits of having a pet far outweigh the negatives. Here are some of the many ways that pet ownership can be good for your health.

from depression. A pet is an unconditional friend and can provide that listening ear a person needs to talk through problems. Also, walking and taking care of a pet devotes attention away from problems and inward thinking. Improve physical activity levels: Heading to the gym is one way to get a workout, but spending an hour walking the dog or tossing around a ball for a game of chase and fetch is another way to get the heart pumping. Many dog owners benefit from the “forced” exercise that goes with daily walks. Some people choose to exercise with their pets, enjoying the companionship and the physical activity. Reduce stroke incidences: There has been evidence that cat owners are less likely to suffer strokes than people who do not have cats. Researchers are not sure of the connection, but surmise that cats have a more calming nature than other types of pets.

Greater opportunities for socialization: Humans are social animals and need to interact with others. Pet owners have a tendency to want to share time and Lower blood pressure: Petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure, experiences with other pet owners. as can watching a fish swim around Pets can provide opportunities for a tank. Those with hypertension may people to get together. want to purchase or adopt a ADHD therapy: Children and adults companion animal to help lower their with attention deficit hyperactivity blood pressure. disorder often benefit from working Reduce stress: Stress is something with a pet or having a pet as a family companion. Playing with a pet is a people face on a daily basis. great way to release excess energy According to a National Health and focus on tasks. Also, a pet with Interview Survey, 75 percent of the his or her unconditional love can help general population experiences at least “some stress” every two weeks, someone with ADHD overcome selfesteem issues. Similar results are and many times that stress is possible when pets are used as moderate to severe. Research has therapy animals for children with indicated that when people spend time with a pet their levels of cortisol, autism and other behavioral a hormone associated with stress, is disabilities. lowered while their level of serotonin, Reduce propensity for allergies: a hormone associated with improved Children who grow up in homes with mood and well-being, is increased. cats and dogs are less likely to Lower cholesterol: Lifestyle factors develop common allergies and even asthma, research suggests. In fact, associated with pet ownership, children who live around two or more particularly a focus on increased physical health and activity, can help dogs or cats before their first birthday lower cholesterol levels. Also, having are less likely to have allergies of any a pet works to reduce stress, which sort, according to a study published may keep individuals from looking to in The Journal of the American fatty foods as sources of alleviating Medical Association. Research presented at the 10th anxiety. International Conference on Human Fight depression: Many therapists Animal Interaction found pet owners have prescribed pet therapy as a were the least likely to have to visit method to alleviating and recovering

the doctor. The survey of more than 11,000 respondents from Australia, China and Germany found that over a five-year period pet owners made 15 to 20 percent fewer annual visits to the

doctor than non-pet owners. The companionship and love pets provide could be a key benefit in promoting good personal health.


THE CLAREMORE DAILY PROGRESS |

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New guidelines indicate annual Pap tests unnecessary

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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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