Page 1

Health TO YOUR

Midvalley M idv va Newspapers

January 2012

A guide to wellness and healthy living in the Mid-Willamette Valley Quick reads about health topics in the news

Some cereals have more sugar than desserts If you’re feeding your kids Honey Smacks or Apple Jacks for breakfast, you might as well just give them a chocolate chip cookie or Twinkie, according to results from a nutritional analysis of kids’ cereals. The Environmental Working Group analyzed 84 cereals and found many contain as much or more sugar than many desserts. The worst culprit was Kellogg’s Honey Smacks. A one-cup serving packs 20 grams of sugar, more than a Hostess Twinkie, which has 18 grams of sugar. Post Golden Crisps and General Mills Wheaties Fuel also have more sugar than a Twinkie, according to the analysis. The Environmental Working Group recommends nutritional breakfast alternatives, such as eggs, fruit smoothies or oatmeal. You can find recipes here: report/sugar_in_childrens _cereals/healthy_breakfast _tips – The Baltimore Sun

Does fast equal fat? Study shows link Sara Lee Thomas, clinical nutrition manager at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, demonstrates how to make “Healthy Hamburger Helper.” The recipe, along with several others that call for pre-cooked meat, is on page A6. AMANDA COWAN | TO YOUR HEALTH

Think before you cook A little planning helps you prepare meals that enrich your health without stealing all your time By MARIA L. KIRKPATRICK arents aim for home-cooked and healthy meals, but too often, time crunches get in the way, making it much easier to grab something to go on the way home. It doesn’t have to be that way. Sara Lee Thomas, clinical nutrition manager at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, gives heart-healthy cooking demonstrations designed for the busy mom (and dad). “It’s easy to fall back on fast food,” Thomas said. But with a few tips and tricks, Thomas said, you can make meals that are fast, healthier and cheaper than those served at drivethroughs. Parents tend to keep an arsenal of basic recipes and old standbys. Thomas advises parents to make a few adjustments to those standbys so that they become healthier. For example, mix shredded cabbage with shredded lettuce and the recipe has more nutrition, a heartier crunch and becomes a powerful cancer fighter. Or add frozen vegetables to a can of soup. They are a big time saver and there is no waste. And frozen chopped onions add big flavor without tears.


ON THE WEB Many online sources are available for tips about quick and easy nutrition. Here’s a quick sample: ■ provides information on the new food pyramid and gives simple reminders for healthy eating and portion control. ■ offers recipes and tips for healthy meals with kid appeal. ■ provides recipes and videos for making heart-healthy meals. ■ assists individuals in planning low-cost, healthy meals. “This is not rocket science,” said Carol Walsh, registered dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic in Corvallis. “Don’t make it harder than it has to be.” Walsh said the easiest way to ensure healthy meals get to the table is to make a plan. Spend 15 minutes a week thinking about a weekly meal schedule and jot it down. “Keep in mind the My Plate diagram, look at the time available each night of the week and have in mind a strategy,” Walsh said, referring to the new food pyramid. Cooking a roast chicken one night can provide leftovers for chicken quesadillas another night, as long as tortillas and cheese are on hand.

Walsh said parents tend to waste a lot of time by not having a plan. That’s when the family reaches for pizza — which is OK, in moderation, and especially if parents set out side dishes such as applesauce and carrots. Snacks can be healthy, Thomas said, and as easy as slicing an apple or serving a handful of nuts. Small pieces are easier, she said. We tend to grab for them more than we would a whole apple. Even chocolate can be healthy, as long as it’s dark and served in small portions. Keeping prepackaged meals out of the kitchen instantly cuts down the amount of fat, sodium and preservatives available. Fresh, frozen or canned are almost always better options. To reduce sodium in canned vegetables, Walsh said, rinse them with water. Drinks should be beneficial as well. Don’t try to replace fruit with fruit juice, Walsh said. Many bottled juices add unnecessary sugar and preservatives. Children should be served milk and water. For those who don’t easily down a glass a milk, Thomas suggests making a vanilla steamer for an evening snack. Just add vanilla and Splenda to a mug of milk and zap it in the microwave until warm. “A lot of kids don’t get enough milk,” she said. “This is a great way to get children to drink another serving.”

A few tweaks give tacos a healthy twist Sara Lee Thomas, clinical nutrition manager at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, offers this advice for making heart-healthy tacos: • Use whole-wheat tortillas. Whole grains help prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, and they may help reduce the risk of asthma in kids. Also, whole grains help control weight. • Use refried fat-free pinto or black beans. They offer high amounts of fiber, twice as much as oatmeal. Pinto beans are high in antioxidants and also are

jammed with many vitamins and minerals. Refried black beans have less sodium than refried pinto beans. Beans may help prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers (like breast cancer). • For the meat, use crumbled ground beef that you’ve cooked, drained and rinsed with boiling water to remove about half the fat, then flavored with a reduced-sodium taco seasoning packet. Or use part or all ground turkey — it’s less expensive and has half the fat of ground beef (even without rinsing).

• Use a lettuce/cabbage mixture instead of just lettuce. Mix shredded lettuce and shredded cabbage half and half. For convenience buy the pre-shredded lettuce and the coleslaw mix. Cabbage has more nutrition than lettuce, gives some nice flavor and crunch, and is a powerful cancer fighter. • For the cheese, look for a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar. It costs the same as the cheddar but has 40 percent less fat. • Use fat free or light sour cream. You can save 50 to 100

calories by making this simple switch. Go with fat free if you can, but even the light sour cream gives you big savings in fat and calories. • Don’t forget the tomatoes. Most salsas are low calorie and fat free, and are a great way to add flavor to your food without adding fat. The main ingredients — which include tomatoes, garlic, onions, chili peppers and cilantro — are all good for you. • Consider sliced olives. Olives give you unsaturated fats, which are healthy for your heart. — Maria L. Kirkpatrick

For more cooking tips and several time-saving recipes, turn to A6

The growing worldwide obesity epidemic has been blamed on a number of factors, but a study argues that it may be inexorably linked with wealthy nations and their fast-food restaurants. Researchers compared the number of fast-food restaurants per capita in 26 countries listed as advanced economies by the International Monetary Fund. They used one chain (Subway) as a proxy measure; at the end of 2010 the chain reportedly had the most restaurants worldwide. Countries with the highest density of restaurants per capita were the U.S. and Canada: 7.52 and 7.43 per 100,000 people, respectively. In the U.S., the prevalence of obesity for men and women is about 32 percent, while in Canada it’s about 23 percent. Japan, however, has far fewer of the fast-food restaurants, 0.13 per 100,000 people, and a far lower obesity rate: 2.9 percent for men and 3.3 percent for women. The researchers emphasized that the findings show correlation and not causality. The study was published in the December issue of the journal Critical Public Health. – Los Angeles Times

Survey: Women are cutting back on tanning Self-tanning products might be keeping women from hitting the beach and tanning beds and courting dangerous UV radiation exposure, a study finds. A recent study released online in the Archives of Dermatology surveyed 415 women about their use of self-tanners and how often they tanned under the sun or in tanning beds in the previous year. While some health experts hail self-tanners as a safer alternative than tanning via the sun and beds, others worry that using the product compels people to seek out those conventional and harmful methods more often. Among women who used tanning products and sunned themselves, 36.8 percent said they had cut back on tanning in the sun because they were using self-tanners. Among those who used the products along with tanning beds, 38 percent said they reduced their use of the devices. – Los Angeles Times


To Your Health

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Study links vegetables, brain health Elderly people getting the right vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids stay sharper

AT A GLANCE What are the key takeaways from the recent study linking better nutrition to better mental performance, especially among the elderly? Maret Traber, a principal investigator at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, breaks it down for you: ■ Eat more fruits, vegetables and fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. ■ Cut down on consumption of baked and fried foods, such as cakes and pastries. ■ Take advantage of the new year to take stock of your body mass index. Tools to assess your BMI are readily available on the web. “If you’re over 25,” on the BMI, Traber said, “this is really a time to seriously take a look at your diet.” ■ Find and use a trustworthy web resource for nutrition tips and guidance. The Linus Pauling Institute happens to run one of those, and you can find it at this address:


Maret Traber wasn’t particularly surprised by the results of a recent study linking good nutrition to better performance on mental tests — and, she notes, your mom instinctively knew some of this as well when she urged you to eat more fruits and vegetables. But Traber, a principal investigator at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute and one of the coauthors of the study, was a little surprised by the international attention the study earned when it was released last month. The research, conducted by scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and the Linus Pauling Institute, found that elderly people with higher levels of several vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in their blood performed better on mental acuity tests and had less of the brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s disease. The study made headlines worldwide — in part, Traber suspects, because it came out near year’s end, a time when health and diet writers are looking for new angles for columns and stories. And if the angle that people want to take away from the study is that it gives them another reason to get serious about eating better in 2012, that’s just fine with Traber.


Maret Traber, principal investigator at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, says eating vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to better mental acuity and brain size in the elderly. Sure, people can take drugs to control their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. “But there are no drugs for your brain,” she said. “What you put in your mouth really does matter.” The study was among the first that relies not on food questionnaires, which can be unreliable, but instead tested for 30 specific nutrient biomarkers in the blood. In addition, 42 of the 104 people in

the study (average age: 87) had MRI scans to measure brain volume. Among the conclusions: The most favorable test results (and brain size measurements) were clearly associated with two dietary patterns — high levels of marine fatty acids such as omega3 found in fish and high levels of vitamins B, C, D and E. Consistently worse results were

Too much information? Birth control choices abound BY LAURAN NEERGAARD ASSOCIATED PRESS

Worried about birth control in light of headlines about side effects from Yaz and the patch? Women have a lot of options that are safe and effective, including some that are even more reliable. You can choose a contraceptive that’s used daily, weekly, monthly, once every three months, once every three years, even once a decade. Yet almost half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended — and experts say confusion and uncertainty despite all the options is a big reason. “We have a whole generation now of young adults, the vast majority of whom are sexually active, who are in a fog about modern contraception,” says Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “They don’t know enough to make a reasonable choice.” Indeed, in a recent survey, the campaign found 42 per-

cent of unmarried 18- to 29year-olds said they knew little about birth control pills and two-thirds knew little about even more effective long-lasting contraceptives. A third said they believe there’s a good contraceptive for their personal needs but they don’t know which one. To help, her center just opened a novel website — — to offer frank answers for all those questions you might be embarrassed to ask. Wonder how easy it is to use the NuvaRing, or what the once-every-threemonths contraceptive shot costs? Can’t imagine how to insert the female condom? Want to know if the rhythm method has any chance of working? Or whether your partner could feel your IUD? What are the side effects, and which methods work best? Those aren’t just questions for teens and young adults. Consider that half of girls are sexually active by age 17, and that menopause hits around 50. To avoid an unplanned pregnancy, the average American woman will have to use contracep-

tion for several decades. The right choice when you’re 20 might not still be when you’re 35 or 40. Today, sterilization, vasectomy for men and tubetying for women, surprisingly re the nation’s leading forms of birth control. When it comes to reversible contraception, the pill is No. 1, highly effective if taken correctly, although missing doses raises the risk of pregnancy. The pill can bring other benefits as well. Long-term use lowers the risk of ovarian cancer; some types cut menstrual cramps or help clear acne. When it comes to reliability, the most effective contraceptives may be two socalled long-acting products many women haven’t heard of: • The IUD, a little Tshaped device that sits in the uterus to block sperm. • An implant called Implanon, a matchstick-sized hormone-emitting rod implanted in the arm. You can forget about pregnancy for three years with Implanon and either five or 10 years with the IUD, depending on the brand.

to be confirmed with additional research. In fact, Traber said, one particular correlation wasn’t entirely clear: “Are you smarter because you eat your vegetables, or do you eat your vegetables because you’re smarter?” But in a real sense, it doesn’t matter, Traber said, because the implication is so clear: “This is hard data to say (that) if you eat this kind of diet, your brain is going to be protected.”

associated with higher intakes of the types of transfats found in baked and fried foods, margarine and fast food. Much of the variation in mental performance hinged on factors such as age and education, but nutrient status accounted for 17 percent of the variation in thinking and memory scores and 37 percent David Stauth of OSU’s News and of the variation in brain size. Research Communications The authors said the study needs contributed to this story.

7 ways to detoxify your life BY TERRI BENNETT MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

2012 is here, and here are my “Top Seven Ways to Detox Your Life”:

1. Clean green Household cleaners can hide toxic chemicals and a clean house isn’t supposed to smell like a mountain breeze. All of those synthetic chemicals and fragrances can actually pollute the air inside your home. Find my seven musthave ingredients and recipes to clean your entire home at columns/.

2. Free yourself of formaldehyde

your exposure.

3. Ban VOCs from your home Formaldehyde is one of the most notorious volatile organic compounds (VOCs) but there are many others. They include benzene, toluene, methylene and chloride. VOCs are found in paint, personal care products, furniture, carpets and adhesives. You can specifically seek out low VOC paints and you’ll want to do a little research to see what’s really in the products you use at home.

4. Choose better personal care products This really requires some work on your part but fortunately the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database,, makes it easy. You can search thousands of products to find out what’s really in them and how they ranked compared to others.

Formaldehyde is linked to a number of health issues, including asthma and cancer. It’s often emitted over many years from certain pressed wood pieces, flooring adhesives and paint. It’s also emitted from wrinklefree bedding, dry-cleaned clothes, and many nail polishes. Choosing natural 5. Know what fibers that can be laundered you’re eating and seeking formaldehydeWhen possible, opt for free home furnishings are organic foods that are great first steps at reducing grown and processed with-

out using synthetic chemicals or sewage sludge. Familiarize yourself with the so-called “Dirty Dozen” list to find out which produce items contain the highest amount of pesticide residue.

6. Give BPA the boot Several studies have linked bisphenol-A or BPA to developmental problems, cancers, heart disease, diabetes and infertility. BPA is used in polycarbonate (PC) containers that are often marked No. 7. Plastics marked No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 are safer choices.

7. Choose natural pest control products Chemical pesticides can be bad for you and your pets. Natural alternatives like vinegar, borax, or diatomaceous earth (DE) are effective and much safer. DE is a powder made from microscopic fossilized shells and works on everything from bedbugs to roaches. Find more information on avoiding all of these unnecessary chemicals at /Columns.

Preparing ground meat in advance speeds up cooking BY MARIA L. KIRKPATRICK TO YOUR HEALTH

Sara Lee Thomas, clinical nutrition manager at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, offers simple tips for healthy cooking. She said cooking healthy doesn’t have to mean complex recipes or great menu overhauls. She advises not to try to change everything at once. “Just try one change at a time,” she said. “Food should still taste good!” Here are her tips: • Draining excess fat from cooked crumbled ground beef gets rid of 25 percent of the fat. Draining then rinsing with hot water gets rid of 50 percent of the fat. • Use ground turkey in place of some or all of your ground beef. Pre-formed turkey patties are available. • Trim fat off meat to cut fat in half. Trim the skin off chicken to cut fat by 75 percent. Doesn’t matter if you trim before or after it’s cooked just as long as you don’t eat the fat. In fact, leaving the fat/skin on during cooking can keep the

meat/chicken more moist. • In meatloaf try adding 3/4 cup of oatmeal per pound of hamburger. • Try TVP (textured vegetable protein). It is a lowcost source of vegetarian protein that can be used in place of some or all ground beef in a recipe (to go half and half, use 1 cup dry TVP plus 1 cup boiling water with 1 pound hamburger). The flavor is bland, so it works best in dishes that gets spiced up, like chili and sloppy Joe’s. You can buy TVP at grocery stores and health-food stores. • Onion powder and garlic powder are easy to keep on hand and are great nosodium ways to add flavor to dishes. • Also worth having on hand: Pre-packaged frozen chopped onions. The cost is less than $2, and you don’t have to shed tears while chopping onions. “Greatest thing since sliced bread, in my opinion,” Thomas said. For starters, consider precooking a batch of this recipe-ready meat, which can be used in a jiffy in any of the recipes that follow.

Recipe-ready meat Ingredients: 2-5 pounds ground beef or a 50-50 mix of ground beef and ground turkey Boiling water Optional: Garlic powder or minced garlic cloves (to taste) Optional: Taco seasoning mix (add after drain/rinse) Directions: Brown meat (and garlic if using) in large frying pan until well done. Put meat in a colander and pour boiling water over it. This will wash away about half of the fat. Let water steam off and press out any remaining water with a slotted spoon. If wanted, stir in the taco seasoning mix at this point. Put the meat into a sealable freezer bag. Well-wrapped and protected, cooked meat is good for three to four months in the freezer. Just take out the amount you need each time and put the rest back in the freezer immediately. Use about 2 cups cooked meat to replace 1 pound ground beef in your recipes. Nutrition per ¼ cup ground beef (20 percent fat) cooked/drained/rinsed (with percentage of daily values): 90 calories, 5.5g fat (8 percent), 2g saturated (10 per-

cent), 0g carb, 10g protein, 40mg g fiber (15 percent), 23g protein, 790 mg sodium (32%). Excellent sodium (2 percent), 6 percent source of iron. iron. ❑ Chili Macaroni And now here are some recipes that can use the preIngredients: cooked meat: 1/2 pound ground beef or 1 cup precooked Quick Tacos/Burritos 1 small onion, chopped, or 1/2 Put refried beans and a hand- cup frozen chopped onion 1 16-ounce can diced tomaful of frozen precooked meat on toes a tortilla and microwave 30-60 1 16-ounce can kidney beans seconds. Take out, add toppings 3/4 cup uncooked elbow mac(pizza blend cheese, light sour aroni cream, salsa). 2 teaspoons chili powder Try whole wheat tortillas or Directions: high fiber wraps for extra fiber Brown beef and onion in a and nutrition. large skillet. Drain off the fat. Nutrition (with percentage of daily values): 1 burrito (Rinse with hot water and then has about 300 calories, 5.5 fat (8 return to the pan to remove even percent), 1g sat fat (5 percent), more fat.) 37g carb (12 percent), 4-8g fiber Add tomatoes with liquid, kid(16-32 percent), 25g protein, 960 ney beans with liquid, macaroni mg sodium (40 percent). High in and chili powder. Bring it to a iron. boil, then turn heat to low. Cover pan and simmer gently Quick Spaghetti on low heat for about 20 minutes until macaroni is tender. Stir Boil 8 ounces of spaghetti once or twice to keep macaroni noodles for 10 minutes. Drain then add a can/jar (28-32 oz.) of from sticking to the pan. spaghetti sauce and 2 cups preMakes four 1-cup servings. cooked hamburger. Heat and Nutrition (with percentserve. age of daily values): 1 cup Nutrition (with percenthas 330 calories, 3g fat (5 perage of daily values): 1 cup cent), 1g sat fat (5 percent), 51g noodles, ½ cup sauce, 2 ounces carb (17 percent), 8g fiber (32 of meat has about 300 calories, percent), 24g protein, 600mg 5g fat (8 percent), 1g sat fat (7 sodium (25 percent), 15 percent percent), 41 g carb (8 percent), 3 vitamin A, 25 percent vitamin C,

6 percent calcium, 25 percent iron.

Quick Sloppy Joes Ingredients: 2 cups precooked meat 1 can Sloppy Joe sauce Directions: Heat together and serve on hamburger buns. Makes seven sandwiches. Nutrition (with percentage of daily values): 1 sloppy Joe sandwich has 300 calories, 5g fat (5 percent), 1.5g sat fat (8 percent), 42g carb (14 percent), 25g protein, 660mg sodium (28 percent), 25 percent vitamin A, 25 percent iron.

Easy Beef Stroganoff Boil a bag of wide egg noodles (12-16 ounces) for 10 minutes. Meanwhile brown 1 pound hamburger (or use 2 cups precooked) and 1 cup frozen chopped onions in a pan. Add 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, 1 container (16 ounces) nonfat sour cream, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Heat up (but don’t boil) and serve over noodles. Nutrition (with percentage of daily values): 2/3 cup sauce over 1 cup noodles has 350 calories, 5.5g fat (8 percent), 2g sat fat (10 percent), 51g carb (17 percent), 1g fiber (2 percent), 22g protein, 228mg sodium (10 percent).

To Your Health

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


To Your Health January 2012  
To Your Health January 2012  

A guide to wellness and healthy living in the Mid-Willamette.