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FOCUS ON HEALTH A Supplement to Times Beacon Record Newspapers

INSIDE: • Boost your brain power • Answering ringing ears • Healthy spring cooking

TIMES BEACON RECORD NEWS MEDIA


PAGE S2 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • MAY 04, 2017

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Focus on HealtH

What’s inside

TIMES BEacon rEcord nEWS MEdIa PUBLISHER Leah S. Dunaief

ART/PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Beth Heller Mason

CIRCULATION MANAGER Courtney Biondo

GENERAL MANAGER Johness Kuisel

ART DEPARTMENT Janet Fortuna Sharon Nicholson

SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER Sheila Murray

MANAGING EDITOR Desirée Keegan EDITOR Heidi Sutton EDITORIAL Ernestine Franco ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Kathryn Mandracchia

INTERNET STRATEGY DIRECTOR Rob Alfano BUSINESS MANAGER Sandi Gross BUSINESS OFFICE Meg Malangone

ADVERTISING Elizabeth Reuter Bongiorno Laura Johanson Robin Lemkin Sheila Murray Jackie Pickle Judy Sedacca Michael Tessler Minnie Yancey

5 . . . How to boost brain health 6 . . . Be smart about antibiotic use 7 . . . What triggers the onset of asthma? 9 . . . Are your ears always ringing? 10 . . Eat healthy at 50 and beyond 11 . . Healthy recipes for your spring table Times Beacon record newspapers are published every Thursday.

Address: PO Box 707, Setauket, NY 11733. Telephone: 631-751-7744. Email address: desk@tbrnewspapers.com;. Fax: 631-751-4165. Website: www.tbrnewsmedia.com. Entire contents copyright 2017.

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FOCUS ON HEALTH

How to slow cognitive decline and boost brain health

The iPad has many types of apps to keep the brain sharp. Physical activity and proper diet and nutrition can help people age 50 and older maintain their physical health. But there are also ways aging men and women can preserve brain health in an effort to prevent or delay the cognitive decline that affects millions of seniors across the globe. It’s easy to overlook the importance of keeping the brain healthy. However, a decline in brain function can result in poor concentration, memory loss and a host of other issues. Sometimes, by the time symptoms present themselves, it may be too late to reverse any damage. Research suggests that a combination of nutrition and mental, social and physical activities may have

a greater impact with regard to maintaining and improving brain health than any single activity. Harvard Medical School also states that volunteering, caring for others and pursuing hobbies may benefit the brains of older adults. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found participants who reported higher levels of purpose in life exhibited superior cognitive function despite the accumulation of abnormal protein depositions (amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Having a purpose also may help those who do not have Alzheimer’s disease.

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In addition to the suggestions mentioned above, those who want to boost brain health can consider these strategies. • Start exercising the brain early on. A study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal examined cognitive function in people ages 45 to 70. Researchers found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-year-old participants as well as the older participants. It’s never too early to put a brain health plan into motion. • Read more books. Reading can open individuals up to new vocabulary and scenarios that promote a stronger brain and recall ability. Enrolling in a class at a local college, community center or online also may be beneficial. • Hit the gym. Several studies suggest an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline. This could be because exercise elevates heart rate, which pumps more blood to the brain and body. • Supplement with DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is dominant in the brain. Adhere to a Mediterranean diet, which is generally high in natural sources of omega-3, including fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Supplements also may help, but individuals should consult with their doctors about which products to take. • Challenge the mind. Men and women can engage in challenging activities that stray from their routines. Puzzles, strategic games, jigsaw puzzles or difficult hobbies can benefit the brain. • Finally, keep a close-knit group of friends. Regular conversation and social interaction is a key component of any brain health wellness plan. Slowing cognitive decline and promoting greater brain health should be a priority for adults of all ages.

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Antibiotics cannot treat illnesses stemming from viruses.

Be smart about antibiotic use

W

hen used correctly, antibiotics and similar drugs known as antimicrobial agents can alleviate infections caused by various bacteria and some types of fungi and parasites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that these drugs have been used successfully for the last 70 years to treat patients with infectious diseases. But antibiotics cannot treat illnesses stemming from viruses, which include most colds and the flu. As effective as antibiotics can be, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. The CDC reports that at least two million people become infected with bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics, and roughly 23,000 people die each year as a result of these types of infections. An April 2014 report from the World Health Organization stated, “This serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. It is now a major threat to public health.” The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics says antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth. The three main ways resistance develops include natural resistance to certain types of antibiotics, genetic mutation or through the acquisition of resistance from another bacterium. This resistance can occur spontaneously or through misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobials. Prescription medications are not always the culprits, either. Antibiotic use in livestock and food production also may contribute to resistance. When antibiotic resistance occurs, a stronger drug may be needed to treat an infection that was once taken care of by a milder medication. Prudent antibiotic

use can help prevent the recurrence of resistance. Individuals can help the process in a number of ways.

Become educated The health resource Medscape, powered by WebMD, says in a recent survey of 796 clinicians, 42 percent of doctors have admitted to prescribing antibiotics 10 to 24 percent of the time even when they are not sure they are necessary. Patient request is a large factor in such offerings. About 25 percent of patients ask their doctor or nurse for antibiotics. Patients who educate themselves about the proper application of antibiotics may be less likely to request them, and that can help prevent the development of a resistance.

Confirm need Only take antibiotics when a bacteria-, parasite- or fungus-based illness is identified. These illnesses may include strep throat, urinary tract infections or ear infections.

Take a wait-and-see approach Wait for lab results to come back for strep throat or other cultures to see if you need an antibiotic. Many viral-based illnesses will tend to go away within two weeks’ time.

Adhere to dosage guidelines When prescribed antibiotics for an infection, take them as directed, making sure you complete the dosage cycle. Do not stop simply because you feel better. Stopping early may not be enough to effectively kill the bacteria and may contribute to resistance in the future. Antibiotic abuse and resistance are concerns that can be addressed by becoming informed and making smart medication choices.

Did you know? There are 48 million cases of food-borne illness every year in the U.S., causing 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These illnesses are especially dangerous when they are resistant to antibiotic treatment.


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FOCUS ON HEALTH

What triggers the onset of asthma?

A

sthma, a chronic lung disease that results in inflamed and narrowed air passages, affects millions of people around the world. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute notes that more than 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Seven million of them are children. Asthma is common in childhood, but you can develop it at any point in your life. It’s not uncommon for people over the age of 50 to be diagnosed with this lung disorder. Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma have the same symptoms, and both have similar treatments. However, children with asthma face different challenges. Children with allergies may not experience asthma from exposure to allergens when they are younger. Yet over time their bodies can change and react differently. This can lead to adult-onset asthma. When airways narrow and swell, they can produce extra mucus. Breathing becomes quite difficult when asthma is present. The Mayo Clinic says that asthma is just a minor nuisance for some people, while others

may experience life-threatening attacks. Recognizing potential triggers and avoiding them can help control symptoms. The changing of seasons can be a tricky time for asthma sufferers because of the increase in air irritants. Pollen and mold spores are known asthma triggers. Spring cleaning around the house also may trigger an attack if dust mites and pet dander are stirred up or when using cleaning supplies. People who are allergic to certain substances also may discover these same allergens can trigger asthma attacks. Irritants in the environment also can bring on such attacks. the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America indicates that, while people may not be allergic to certain irritants, irritants can bother inflamed and sensitive airways. Cigarette smoke, wood fires, charcoal grills, smog, strong fumes and chemicals also may trigger asthma attacks. People with asthma also must take care when exercising or when they develop respiratory illnesses. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can appear after several minutes of

sustained exercise. The AAFA also notes that colds, flu and sinus infections are among the most common asthma triggers in children. Although many asthma triggers are known, researchers continue to explore what causes asthma. The NHLBI says that people may be more likely to develop asthma if they have atopy, an inherited tendency to develop allergies, their parents have asthma, they were exposed to certain respiratory infections during their childhood or if they had contact with allergens while their immune systems were developing. A theory known as the “hygiene hypothesis” suggests another potential cause for asthma. Researchers say that growing concerns with hygiene and sanitation have removed many of the types of environmental exposures that once helped children develop strong immune systems. As a result, an increased risk for atopy and asthma has surfaced. Asthma sufferers can try to avoid common triggers and may find that medication and other lifestyle changes can help control their symptoms.

The changing of seasons can be a tricky time for asthma sufferers.

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FOCUS ON HEALTH

Why are your ears ringing? Getting to the root of tinnitus

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hough it’s difficult for many people to imagine living in a world in which their hearing has been compromised, hearing loss is a significant medical issue that affects millions of people across the globe. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, among adults ages 65 and older in the United States, 12.3 percent of men and nearly 14 percent of women are affected by tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears that can be intermittent or continuous and can vary in loudness. The Mayo Clinic says that one in five people are affected by tinnitus. It may result from age-generated hearing loss, an ear injury, exposure to loud noises or even a circulatory system disorder. Though not always serious, tinnitus can be very bothersome for the person experiencing it. Understanding what causes tinnitus and the ways to cope with it can provide some measure of relief.

Causes There are several different factors that can contribute to the onset of tinnitus, though in some cases the actual cause is never identified. Here are the most common conditions that may lead to tinnitus. * Earwax blockage: Earwax is a natural defense against dirt and bacteria. It is formed to trap these particles and naturally eject them from the ear. Over time an abundance of earwax may form and accumulate, making it hard for it to go away naturally. This may cause pain, hearing loss and irritation of the eardrum. Any one of these factors also may lead to tinnitus. * Hearing loss: As people age, some measure of hearing loss may take place.

Age-related hearing loss, called presbycusis, also may cause tinnitus. * Ear bone changes: All bones in the body are subject to stiffening or arthritic-like conditions, including inner ear bones. Stiffening of middle ear bones may affect hearing and cause tinnitus. This is a condition that usually runs in families. * Unprotected exposure to loud noises: Those who have attended a concert or a fireworks display may have walked away afterward with a temporary ringing in the ears. Frequent exposure to loud noises without the use of earplugs or special noise-blocking headsets may cause permanent damage. Even listening to portable music devices may cause tinnitus if played loudly for extended periods of time. * Side effects of medications: Many people may be surprised to learn that certain medications can cause hearing loss. Some cancer drugs and certain antibiotics can cause hearing loss, including loss that may be permanent. In addition, when used regularly, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin and acetaminophen can increase a person’s risk of hearing loss. Some side effects related to hearing loss may disappear when a person stops taking the medication that is contributing to those side effects. However, that’s not always the case, so it’s best to discuss any potential side effects of medications with your physician before taking anything. * Other causes: Everything from head and neck injuries, depression, stress, Meniere’s disease, ear infections, poor diet, acoustic neuroma, lack of exercise and benign tumors forming in the cranial nerve or elsewhere may lead to tinnitus.

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Many people think tinnitus only constitutes a high-pitched ringing in the ears. Actually, tinnitus can take the form of ringing, pulsing, a heartbeat sound, buzzing, hissing, roaring or even clicking. Any noise in the ear(s) constitutes tinnitus. In many cases tinnitus is something only the person suffering can hear, called subjective tinnitus. In some cases a doctor performing an examination may be able to hear the tinnitus also, called objective tinnitus. This is rare and generally the result of blood vessel problems or an inner ear bone condition.

Doctors may be able to diagnose the source of the tinnitus and treat the underlying condition, such as earwax removal, thus reducing the tinnitus. When a source cannot be found, a doctor may recommend a noise suppression device. These white noise generators can distract from the internal noise in the ear. The Mayo Clinic recommends exercise and relaxing techniques such as yoga and meditation as both a means of stress and tinnitus relief. See your doctor if tinnitus is constant and causes sleep difficulties, anxiety, extreme fatigue, dizziness, pain or depression.

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balanced diet is an integral element of a healthy lifestyle for men, women and children alike. But while kids and young adults might be able to get away with an extra cheeseburger here or there, men and women approaching 50 have less leeway. According to the National Institute on Aging, simply counting calories without regard for the foods being consumed is not enough for men and women 50 and older to maintain their long-term health. Rather, the NIA emphasizes the importance of choosing low-calorie foods that have a lot of the nutrients the body needs. But counting calories can be an effective and simple way to maintain a healthy weight, provided those calories are coming from nutrient-rich foods. The NIA advises men and women over 50 adhere to the following daily calorie intake recommendations as they attempt to stay healthy into their golden years.

Women • Not physically active: 1,600 calories • Somewhat active: 1,800 calories • Active lifestyle: between 2,000 and 2,200 calories

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When choosing foods to eat, the NIA recommends eating many different colors and types of vegetables and fruits. Phytochemicals, also known as antioxidents, are substances that occur naturally in plants, and there are thousands of these substances offering various benefits. The Produce for Better Health Foundation notes that a varied, colorful diet incorporates lots of different types of phytochemicals, which the PBH says have disease-preventing properties. The NIA also advises that men and women over 50 make sure at least half the grains in their diets are whole grains, which include wheat, oats, barley (hulled and dehulled but not pearl), brown rice, rye, freekah, quinoa, bulgar, maize, amaranth and buckwheat.

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Numerous studies have discovered the various benefits of whole grains, which are loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. Whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Another potential hurdle men and women over 50 may encounter is a change in their sense of smell and taste. A person’s sense of smell may fade with age, and because smell and taste are so closely related, foods enjoyed for years may no longer tantalize the taste buds. That can be problematic, as many people instinctually add more salt to foods they find bland. According to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, older adults should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. That equates to roughly 3⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Older men and women should resist the temptation to use salt to add flavor to foods, instead opting for healthy foods that they can still smell and taste. In addition, men and women should mention any loss of their sense of smell to their physicians, as such a loss may indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Maintaining a healthy diet after 50 may require some hard work and discipline. But the long-term benefits of a healthy diet make the extra effort well worth it.


MAY 04, 2017 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S11

FOCUS ON HEALTH

F

inding the perfect recipe to share with loved ones can prove to be a year-round challenge. These healthy and tasty dishes that include a flatbread appetizer, shrimp main dish and a favorite seasonal dessert made with strawberries can help you serve up a meal perfect for any spring gathering.

Herbed Veggie Focaccia Bread YIELD: Serves 12 INGREDIENTS:

Dough: • • • • • •

1 cup whole-wheat flour 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided 1 package (¼ ounce) quick-rise yeast 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup warm water, 125-130 F 1 tablespoon canola oil

Topping: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

7 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced 3 plum tomatoes, chopped 1 small green bell pepper, slivered ½ cup sliced black olives ¼ cup chopped red onion 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper ¼ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ teaspoon thyme ¼ teaspoon basil ¼ teaspoon garlic powder nonstick cooking spray 2 teaspoons cornmeal

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 475 F. To make dough: In mixing bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, ½ cup all-purpose flour, yeast and salt. Add water and oil. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining allpurpose flour to form soft dough. Place onto floured surface and knead by hand until consistent and elastic, about 4 minutes. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. To make topping: In bowl, combine mushrooms, tomatoes, green bell pepper, olives, onion, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, basil and garlic powder. Coat 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Gently press dough into pan. With fork, generously prick dough. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cover dough with topping mixture. Bake additional 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Source: American Institute for Cancer Research

FIX UP A FLAVORFUL

Spring Table

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles YIELD: Serves 4 INGREDIENTS: • • • • • • • • • • • •

¼ cup coconut milk (regular or lite) 1 teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper ¼ teaspoon pure lime extract 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 small zucchini, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer 1 medium yellow squash, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer 1 medium carrot, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer 2 tablespoons oil ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 375 F. In large, re-sealable plastic bag, mix together coconut milk, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and lime extract. Add shrimp; turn to coat well.

Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. In center of large, shallow, foil-lined baking pan, arrange shrimp in single layer. In large bowl, toss vegetable noodles and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat well. Spread noodles around shrimp

in pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through and noodles are tender. Serve shrimp over vegetable noodles. Test kitchen tip: For faster prep, use 4 cups store-bought spiralized vegetable noodles instead of spiralizing them yourself.

Strawberry and Cheese Refrigerator Pie YIELD: Serves 8 INGREDIENTS: • 1 prepared whole-wheat graham cracker pie crust (9 inches) • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream • 2 tablespoons extra-fine sugar • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 pound strawberries • ½ cup strawberry fruit spread • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional) DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 350 F. Place crust on baking DESSERT MAKEOVER: Strawberries are a seasonal favorite. Indulge by skip- sheet and bake 8 minutes or until golden and fraping the shortcake and whipping up this lower-calorie dessert for more flavor grant. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon and less guilt. A whole-wheat crust layered with simple, low-fat ingredients zest and vanilla in small bowl. Using hand mixer and topped with fresh strawberries provides a tasty springtime treat.

on medium speed or wooden spoon, blend until combined and smooth. Spread cheese mixture evenly over bottom of pie crust. Refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours. Before serving, cut off tops of strawberries. Halve largest ones and place in bowl. Cut remaining berries lengthwise in quarters and place in another bowl. Melt fruit spread in bowl in microwave or in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Mix in lemon juice, if using, and divide hot fruit spread between two bowls of berries. Using fork, toss until fruit is coated. Spoon quartered fruit into center of pie, turning most pieces cut-side down. Arrange larger halves in circle around edge of pie with flat side facing rim of crust and pointing toward center of pie. Fill open spaces with any remaining fruit spread. Serve pie within 1 hour.


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