Health Articles

HAS YOUR CHILD BEEN TESTED YET?

Catching hearing problems early makes all the difference…
Heather Young was worried about her six-week old daughter. “Jennifer doesn’t react to loud noises,” she told her obstetrician, “like when I turn on the vacuum cleaner or when the alarm clock goes off.”  To calm her fears, the doctor performed a common test-ringing a bell next to the baby’s ear.  When Jennifer turned her head towards the bell, the doctor assured Young her little girl was fine.
But when Jennifer was not talking by 18 months, Young sought other opinions.  Two more doctors found nothing wrong. Jennifer was 2,5 years old before she got an auditory brain-stem response (ABR) test in which clicking sounds sent through earphones are measured in the brain.  This exam showed that Jennifer was moderately hearing impaired after all.  The tragedy was late detection had delayed her language development and threatened, long term, to hinder her growth socially.
DIFFICULTY IN DETECTION
Hearing impairment is one of the most common birth defects in North America today. Approximately three in 1000 children are born deaf or hearing impaired.  But equally disturbing are the number of misdiagnoses of the condition.  Even kids with severe hearing loss, according to Ray Hull, professor of audiology at Wichita State University in Kansas, can go undetected.
The Youngs area case study in the difficulty of detecting hearing problems. The experience with Jennifer led the Young family to suspect that their second child, Elise, also had a hearing impairment.  Doctors told them that would be unlikely.  When Elise passed the ringing-bell test and another type of hearing exam, their pediatrician said that an ABR test wasn’t necessary.  It was. A year later, Elise got an ABR and was found to be more hard-of-hearing than her sister.
“From birth until about the age of six months, all babies coo, gurgle and make vocalization sounds,” says Robert C. Fifer, an audiologist at the University of Miami School of Medicine.  “It’s all reflexive. YOu can’t tell the difference between a three-month-old hearing baby and a three-month-old deaf baby.” Fifer calls infant hearing impairment an invisible problem.
Hearing specialist Dr. Cliff A. Megerian of the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Centre stresses that “even children who have moderately severe hearing loss may hear loud sounds.”  Vibration or motion – like that of a moving hand in the bell-ringing test-may also cause hearing-impaired infants to react.
As a result of misdiagnosis, many children muddle along until hearing screenings are given at school. They don’t know they have a problem, and their symptoms may be misinterpreted. “Teachers often label them as behaviour problems or as slow,” says D. Wayne Paschall, audiologist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre in Lubbock.
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT.
Mounting evidence shows that the longer the delay in diagnosing the problem, the more trouble the child has developing language and social skills.
Dr. James Andrews, who specializes in disorders of the ear at UCLA Medical Centre, explains that the brain cells responsible for learning languange must begin linking with each other in the first few months of the baby’s life. “The neural pathways that sound takes to the brain have to be developed,” says Andrews.  If a child doesn’t hear people speak, brain cells link up in different ways- and the child’s language skills may never grow to their full potential.
A 1998 study published in the journal Pediatrics supports the belief that early detection and treatment are crucial to language development.  Children whose hearing impairment was detected before six months of age developed significantly better language skills than those whose impairment was identified later. And according to study leader Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, delays in language development can affect academic achievement and social skills for years to come.
The Young family’s experience illustrates the point. Jennifer, who got hearing aids at age three, is now 12 years old. She is more than two years behind hearing children her age, both academically and socially.  Her word comprehension is limited, and she has difficulty keeping up with spoken conversation. In part, she must rely on sign language.  The result, her mother says, is that Jennifer often feels that she doesn’t fit in.
Elise, now nine, who got hearing aids at the age of one, lags behind hearing kids by only a year. Ty, a third child born to they Youngs, was given the ABR test shortly after birth and began wearing hearing aids at eight weeks.  His language and social skills match those of a hearing child of the same age.
Because early detection and treatment is so essential to normal development, the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommended in 1993 that all babies undergo hearing screening by the age of three months. But many hospitals still do not have screening programs in place.  Patients must be referred to other medical facilities or seek testing on their own.
Both the ABR test and another effective screening method known as otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing are noninvasive and relatively inexpensive.  They are a small investment considering the hundreds of thousands of dollars that might have to be spent on remedial training if a child’s impairment is identified too late.
If you are expecting a baby, ask whether your hospital offers newborn screening. If it doesn’t, find out where the tests are available and have your baby screened as soon as possible.
If an older child seems to have trouble hearing or difficulty with language, consult with the child’s teachers and your physician.  If tests show there is a hearing problem, move quickly.  The sooner your child gets help, the more likely his development will be normal and healthy.
A QUICK AT HOME TEST
Check your child’s development against this time line. If you answer no to any of these questions, consider having your baby’s hearing tested.
Birth-3 months.
- Quiets or curtails activity when someone approaches and speaks.
- Is startled by loud sounds (blinks, jerks, cries).
3-6 months.
- Turns head to search for the source of a voice.
- Enjoys rattles, noisemaking toys.
- Reacts to familiar sounds at feeding time: bottles rattling, spoon in dish, etc.
6-10 months.
- Babbles (sounds like da, ba, ma).
- Reacts to music by cooing.
- Responds to own name.
- Looks to right person at the words mommy and daddy.
- Understands common words such as no, all gone, bye.
10-15 months.
- Knows names of favourite toys and can point to them when asked.
- Like rhymes and jingles.
- Imitates simple words and sounds.
15-20 months.
- Can follow simple directions.
- Recognizes hair, nose, eyes and other parts of the body when named.
- Asks for familiar objects by name: blanket, cookie, teddy bear.
20-24 months.
- Begins combining words: more juice; mommy home.
- Refers to self by name.
- Enjoys being read to.
- Shows interest in radio and TV.
24-36 months.
- Vocabulary-at 24 months-of about 270 words, which increases each day.
- Expresses needs, interests and experiences.
36 months.
- Vocabulary of 1000 words, 80 percent of which should be intelligible to strangers.

THREE EASY CURES FOR A TOOTHACHE

If a toothache strikes someone in your family, your first step should be to dial a dentist.  Toothaches indicate a problem that likely won’t go away – a lost filling, a cavity, or a serious infection.  After you’ve made an appointment, try these home remedies to deal with the pain.
PEPPERMINT TEA: Because of its anti-inflammatory compounds, peppermint has a soothing ability.  Make a cup of the tea, let it cool to room temperature, take a sip, then swish as needed.  Another kitchen-cupboard option is cloves.  For decades, clove oil was a mainstay in dentists offices for numbing pain.  Take three to five whole cloves and tuck the between the gum and the sore tooth.  A pinch of ground cloves also works.
ICE: Canadian researchers found that rubbing an ice cube on people’s hands can dull the pain of a toothache in about half of those tested. Wrap the ice in a thin washcloth and rub it into the fleshy part between your thumb and forefinger.  The sensation seems to crowd out the pain messages going to your brain from your tooth.
CHEWING GUM:  If you’ve lost a filling or cracked a tooth, fill the exposed area with a piece of softened sugarless chewing gum. This will protect the sensitive area until you get the tooth fixed.

TREATED YOUR WOUNDS

Many peoples consider that alcohol shouldn’t be used to disinfect cuts and scrapes.  Is hydrogen peroxide a better choice?  The answer is no, says Dr. Arlene Brown, a physician in private practice in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and a member of the board of the American Academy of Family Physicians.  Hydrogen peroxide is great for sterilizing medical instruments as well as bleaching hair and teeth, but like alcohol, it can damage living tissue.  Continued application of the powerful disinfectant can lead to a wound that heals slowly or, in some cases, not at all.
That doesn’t mean you should leave minor wounds untreated.  “Soap and water is your best bet,” says Brown.  A warm compress can also help increase circulation to the area, spreeding healing and reducing pain.  A dab of petroleum jelly applied twice a day keeps dirt and germs out of the wound.  If you’re still concerned about infection, consider a triple-antibiotic cream such as Neosporin.  Bear in mind that an increasing number of people seem to be developing an allergy to one of the ingredients in triple-antibiotic creams-bacitracin.  An allery to bacitracin can cause slow healing or a rash.

FOODS THAT BITE BACK

If a taste of ice cream makes you wince in pain, you may have a little-known, yet widespread, condition called dental erosion.  Erosion, which is the gradual destruction of tooth enamel, can cause pain when eating hot or cold food, discoloration, and tooth loss.
“There is a growing amount of evidence that points to soft drink consumption as the main cause,” says Paula Moynihan, Ph.D., a dietitian at the School of Dental Sciences at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.  Much of the recent research on dental erosion, including Moynihan’s hails from Britain, where soft drink consumption is now 800 times that of the 1950′s.  In the United States, it has risen, 1100 percent in 20 years.
In a recent study involving 1753 British 12 years olds, 59.7 percent already had signs of erosion.  A few even had exposed dentin (the layer underneath the hard outer enamel),a condition typically found only in adult teeth.  Erosion was strongly associated with frequent soft drink consumption. While all acidic foods can cause dental erosion, soda is particularly harsh because of such ingredients as phosporic acid.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find this in American children,” says Kenneth Burrell, D.D.S., senior director of the American Dental Association’s Council of Scientific Affairs.  Burrell hopes the British studies will alert U.S. dentists to the problem and prompt further research.
The solution is not to ban soda altogether, although limiting soda consumption is good for both waistlines and teeth.  Instead, try these tips.
DON’T BRUSH AFTER MEALS.  Because the tooth surface is weakest after direct contact with acid, the abrasions of a toothbrush can damage softened enamel.  In the morning, brush before breakfast.  At night, wait at least an hour after your last drink or meal before brushing.
USE STRAW. Straw minimize fluid contact with the teeth.
HAVE SOME MILK.  Pair acidic foods with those rich in calcium.  Add some skim milk to your tea. A calcium-based antacid (such as TUMS) after an acidic meal also helps.
CHEW SUGARLESS GUM.  Saliva provides a buffer for your teeth and has trace amounts of minerals to preserve them.  Gum helps stimulate salive production.

TOO MUCH SHAKING GOING ON

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) – the group that sets the recommended daily allowance for nutrients – recently told salt-loving Americans that they should reduce their sodium intake to 1500 milligrams or less per day.  That’s roughly a half teaspoon.  The previous level was 2400 milligrams.
According to Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., a National Institutes of Health researcher and expert in diet and high blood presure, the IOM’s decision was based on strong evidence that “reducing sodium intake to 1500 milligrams give twice the blood presure reduction as 2400 milligrams.”  This is a bit of a pickle because Americans eat closer to 4000 milligrams each day.  High blood pressure affects 1 in 4 adults and can lead to heart attacks and strokes.  Here are some suggestions to help you reach the new level.
READ THE LABEL.  Although taking it easy with the salt shaker is a good idea, most Americans get 77 percent of their sodium from prepared and processed food.  Read the “Nutrition Facts” label and choose products that contain less than 5 percent of the daily value for sodium per serving.
USE FRESH HERBS.  A few weeks of forgoing table salt is all it takes to lose your taste for it.  Try basil on tomatoes and other summer vegetables such as squash, green beans, and eggplant.  Chives perk up baked potatoes.  Thyme rubbed into beef or chicken before roasting adds delectable flavor.  Combine equal parts dried thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley and sprinkle on soups and casseroles.
EAT MORE FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.  Adding more produce to your family’s diet can reduce your chances of hypertension.  Many fruits and veggies are high in potassium, a nutrient that can counter the negative effects of sodium. Foods that are potassium-rich include broccoli, cantaloupe, spinach, oranges, avocados, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.

STOP SMOKING HABITS

Imagine a drug that helps you both quit smoking and lose weight-at the same time. Sound like a pipe dream?  May be not.  A drug called rimonabant is now available in drug store.  Researchers recently reported results showing it doubled the chance of quitting smoking.  As a diet drug, rimonabant led study participants to average 20-pound weight loss over a year.  Side effects were extremely mild.

KIDS GARDENING

Your children may moan and groan about having to help in the garden, but you should still insist that they partake. Not only will they develop a lifelong love a things that grow, they will have you to thank for a healthier diet.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, had fourth-graders learn about gardening by doing things such as planting seeds indoors and outdoors, spending time recognizing types of weeds, and studying proper harvest techniques.  After 17 weeks of gardening, the children made a surprising discovery-they liked many vegetables that kids are renowned for loathing.  Among the vegetables the children grew to love: carrots, broccoli, snow peas, and zucchini.  Now that’s the miracle of gardening.

GARDENING FOR YOUR HEALTH

There is more in your garden than plants and soil.  The opportunity for renewed mental and physical health grows there too.  For all of recorded history, gardens have been viewed as places of wonder, capable of restoring health and peace to those who entered.  Physicians in pharaoh ruled Egypt prescribed walks through gardens to improve mental well-being.  Monks of yore used their gardens to soothe world-weary travelers.  And one of the seven wonders of the ancient world-the hanging gardens of Babylon – was built by King Nebuchadnezzar to heal his wife, Amytis, of homesickness and depression.  Today, research and insights are bearing out an age-old truth-the natural world influences the mind, body, and soul in remarkably complex ways. “Gardening is a wonderful means to improve physical fitness and mental outlook,” says Diane Roberts Stoler, an avid gardener and health psychologist who practices in Boxford, Massachusetts.  Here’s a look at how you and your family can improve your health, garden style.
CULTIVATE HEALTHY MINDS
Multiple studies show that a plant-filled environment helps people relax, raises pain tolerance for people with chronic disorders, and improves moods.  One of these studies, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, found that regular exposure to natural environments such as gardens helps people recover from the ill effects of stress more quickly.
Why is that? “Gardens surround us with sensory feedback very different from that of the urban scene,” says Maria Gabaldo, a horticultural therapist at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Horticultural therapists use plants to promote health, well-being, and social contact among people recovering from disabilities, substance abuse, illness, and other problems.
Research from Kansas State University’s Department of Horticulture finds that colorful flowers work more effectively that green foliage alone to reduce tension.
“Flowers are symbolically and emotionally integrated with human life,” says Eunhee Kim, the research assistant professor at Kansas State who led the studies.  Seeing them can be a powerful distraction from stressful thoughts.
Gardening may also delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, says Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist from Pittsburgh and author of Brain Health and Wellness.  “It’s an excellent mental workout because it requires sophisticated brain activity,” he explains.  “Learning a new skill, like gardening, helps plow and nurture new neural connections in the brain.”
Pat Davis has been gardening at her Massachusetts home for more than 30 years.  When she had a mild stroke at the age of 53, she could barely move, let alone tend to her flowers. But during physical therapy, she figured out how to replicate the exercises in her garden.  Instead of pinching Silly Putty to improve her dexterity, she peeled the seedpods on her Money plants. “It was very therapeutic,” says Pat, who is now fully recovered.
LET YOUR BODY GROW.
Tamara Dorris used her Sacramento County, California, plot to treat an ailing body.  In 2002, she was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, an illness that nearly killed her.  She schooled herself in the theory that nutrition is vital to healthing and gives most of the credit for her full recovery to her strict disease-fighting diet of whole foods.  “I also believe the act of watering and pulling weeds and picking foods from the garden was meditative and helpful in my overall recovery,” says Tamara, who wrote a book about her experience titled Get Well Now!
Gardens are good for bodies in other ways as well, such as motivation for regular exercise. “Since so many people enjoy yard work, they are more likely to continue doing it for many years,” says Lori Turner, associate professor of health science at the University Arkansas in Fayetteville.  New findings uncovered by Turner and her research team indicate that gardening is second only to weight training as an activity most likely to ward off osteoporosis.  All that pulling, lifting, and digging is a great way to expend calories too.  A person weighing around 180 pounds will burn about 200 calories after 30 minutes of gardening.  More and more, evidence shows that people who consume diets rich in fruits and vegetables and get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day or so are less likely to develop a host of illnesses, including heart disease.
Best yet, all this bounty is no farther than your backyard.  And the garden-fresh taste of homegrown veggies is out of this world compared to ones that have often been shipped thousands of miles to your grocer.
SOW SOULFULLY
“Quality of life is directly related to the ability to closely connect to the natural world,” says Nancy Easterling, president of the American Horticultural Therapy Association.  As gardening brings nature to us, it inspires patience and contemplation.  Being responsible for the care of another living thing “can be very powerful for feeling good about oneself.  We all need to be needed, to feel useful.  Our sense of confidence grows in a garden,” says Rebecca Haller, director of the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver.
An example of that philosophy in action can be seen at the Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at San Francisco General Hospital.  There, you will find Sanctuary Gardens, created by garden architect Topher Delaney as a way to nurture wounded psyches and offer a safe, serene place for patients.  “Gardens are about faith in the future,” says Delaney.  “They are magical and miraculous healers of the spirit.”

WHAT WOMEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ASTHMA

Researchers are finding that asthma hits women differently. Here’s how.
Maria Teresa Campoli lived with undiagnosed asthma for eight years.  Her doctor assumed she had bronchitis and prescribed rounds of antibiotics.  As her symptoms worsened, she began to stay indoors in cold and humid weather. By her mid-30s, she’d been forced to give up gardening and singing-two of her favourite activities.
Soon after she finally saw a specialist, Campoli suffered an asthma attack that shook her with coughing so severe she was carried through the front doors of the hospital. “I thought I’d die,” she recalls.  Had she not gone to the ER, she might well have.  Campoli spent three days in the hospital struggling to breathe, three weeks at home in bed recuperating and then seven years working with an asthma specialist to get the disease under control.  Had Campoli been diagnosed earlier, her asthma might never have progressed to such a state.  Despite the classic signs-breathing problems, coughing struggles-her doctor hadn’t considered asthma because she didn’t fit the profile. Asthma is still considered a childhood illness that affects mainly boys.  In fact, more women than men in Canada have asthma-8.5 percent versus 6.5 percent for men. And more women than men develop symptoms later in life-sometimes not until well into adulthood.
By the early 1990s, researchers had begun noticing gender differences in the disease.  Since then, evidence has been mounting that asthma hits women harder.  Not only do they experience more debilitating symptoms and more troublesome side effects from drugs, they also account for 60 percent of all asthma deaths, according to Statistics Canada data.
Now the Women and Asthma Program at Toronto’s Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre-the only such program in North America-is championing equal-opportunity care. “We’re at the same point that cardiovascular disease research was ten years ago,” says Dr. Anna Day, a respirologist who founded the program in 1999. Cardiovascular disease was often misdiagnosed in women because drug testing and treatments focused on male patients and didn’t take into account women’s hormonal surges.
Day’s goal is customized asthma care that responds to women’s need as well as to biological differences.  But first she and like-minded doctors must raise awareness in the medical community and among women themselves that the problem deserves attention and more study.
If there’s been little research into women’s asthma, there are also big blanks in our knowledge of asthma in general.  As far as we know, it’s a disease that inflames the airways, restricting airflow in and out of the lungs-sometimes so severely that sufferers die.  And doctors still don’t know what causes asthma or why asthma rates are rising in both children and adults.  In fact, only recently have doctors stopped defining the disease as a sudden, severe breathing problem and begun calling it a chronic disease that requires constant vigilance and care-daily drugs in all but the mildest cases.
Most physicians don’t realize that women’s asthma is different.  And yet when women get asthma, they seem to suffer more serious attacks.  A 1998 study by Day showed that women were three times more likely than men to be hospitalized for asthma between 1985 and 1995.  In 1999 a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine discovered that almost twice as many women as men went to the emergency department suffering from acute asthma, and women were more likely to be admitted to hospital.  Day’s conclusion: Either women have worse asthma than men or the medicines commonly prescribed to control attacks-inhaled steroids-don’t work as well for them.
The disease may also feel worse for women.  A study of more than 900 people in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 1998 found that the women reported worse symptoms, more pain and lower quality of life even though doctors rated their disease on a par with men’s.  These women took more medication and went to their doctors more often.
If some doctors recognize that women experience asthma more severely, they’re also coming to realize that different causes and triggers are at play.  A recent University of Ottawa study  concluded that smoking may cause higher asthma rates in women smokers but not in men.
Cigarette smoke may even trigger the illness. That’s what happened to Christie-Anna MacLachlan.  The 21-year-old from London, Ontario, had no trace of the disease until she began working in a tobacco-clouded doughnut shop.  When she went to her doctor with breathing problems, she says, she didn’t even have any air to blow into a peak-flow meter, which measures your ability to expel air.
Hormonal sways and shifts lead women to experience many diseases differently, including epilepsy, diabetes and depression.  Now medical research suggests that pre-menstrual asthma (PMA) plagues at least 30 to 40 percent of women asthmatics,  In a 1997 study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, pharmaceutical researcher Mary H.H. Ensom of the University of British Columbia looked at 14 women whose asthma got at least 20 percent worse before their periods.  Subjects who received estrogen supplements prior to menstruation reported that their breathing and lung function improved.  Some women who take birth control pills may notice the same thing.
PMA may not be recognized by all doctors and women, yet physicians have long known that pregnancy can affect the disease-for better or worse.  A study published in the British Medical Journal found that women who bore boys generally saw their asthma improve or at least stay the same, while moms of girls were more likely to feel worse or stay the same.  It seems that a fetus’s male hormones may help the mother’s asthma.
A woman’s last hormonal hurrah can also affect asthma.  Menopause, for some lucky women, brings a decrease in symptoms or even a mysterious end to it all.  But many find the hormonal swings bring on more severe wheezing and coughing.
The treatment of asthma poses special problems for women. Daily use of corticosteroids, our best asthma drugs so far, brings worisome side effects.  Oral corticosteroids (administered in pill form) have been proven to lead to declining bone density and eventually osteoporosis.  While many physicians try to keep women off these drugs to protect their bones, others continue to prescribe them for women who have severe asthma.
Inhaled corticosteroids provide a safer-but not foolproof-choice.  One Toronto teacher took a heavy dose twice daily for 15 years. Today, the 54′years old’s bone density measures dangerously low for her age.  Indeed, after studying inhaled steroids and bone density, Dr. Kenneth Champman, director of the Asthma Centre of Toronto Western Hospital, concluded in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that there was a relationship between the amount of steroid inhaled and the risk of decreased bone density, and that reducing dosage meant reducing risk.
Treatment of asthma gets particularly complicated during pregnancy.  “Women are told by a doctor or pharmacist that they should stop all their medication because it will cause birth defects, and that’s wrong,” says Dr. Caroline Despard of London, Ontario, a founding member of the Family Physician Asthma Group of Canada.  An asthma attack during pregnancy can reduce the oxygen supply to the baby, which can cause growth problems, premature labour and its consequences.  Bolstering Despard’s pro-drug argument is recent data from the U.S. Registry for Asthmatic and Allergic Pregnant Patients that showed children born to 182 women taking inhaled steroids had the same incidence of low birth weight, preterm birth and defects as women in the general population not taking the drugs.
Their own experience has convinced Maria Teresa Campoli and Christie-Anna Mac Lachlan that women’s asthma is different from what so many doctors told them.  Asthmatics like them-and those yet undiagnosed-need to know more about this disease and how it changes with their hormonal shifts.  More doctors need to learn how to treat women asthmatics, so they don’t refuse drugs during pregnancy and take care with oral steroids, which will eat away at female bones. And we need to discover more about gender differences in the disease and develop women-specific drugs that will be able to withstand to slings and arrows of fluctuating hormones.  Then we can all breathe more easily.
ASTHMA ALERT
Asthma can start at any age. While boys usually start wheezing on the playground, girls are more likely to come down with their fist symptoms in their teens or early 20s.  But asthma can also hit later in life, especially if you breathe in a lot of smoke or chemicals at work or at home.  Many people have asthma and don’t know it.  Are you one of them? See your doctor if you:
- get colds that linger in your chest.
- wake up at night with difficulty breathing.
- experience any or all of the following on a regular basis: wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, phlegm in the throat.
- find your breathing becomes strained when exposed to pets, cigarette smoke, pollen, cold air, exercise, changes in the weather.
- have breathing problems and a family history of asthma or allergies.

HELP FOR HEADACHES

Caffeine lovers know that missing their morning coffee or having too much can trigger a raging headache.  Now new research by Dr. Seymour Diamond of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago shows that a dose of caffeine may also help treat tension headaches, the most common kind.  In a study of 301 sufferers, researchers found that a combination of ibuprofen and caffeine bested either drug alone in relieving pain. In addition, patients who got the combo therapy, given in capsule form, had belief nearlyu an hour sooner than those taking only ibuprofen.
Caffeine appears to give an early boost to the effects of ibuprofen, says Diamond.  And the caffeine need not come in a capsule.  A large cup of coffee, he says, might do the trick.

TIPS FOR HYPERTENSION

For years, the common belief has been that it’s the bottom number in a blood-pressure reading-the diastolic pressure-that’s most significant in determining hypertension.  The upper, or systolic, figure was underemphasized.  But officials at the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have announced that systolic blood pressure is a reliable sign of hypertension, and as people age, it is the best indicator.  The NHLBI has issued an advisory suggesting that doctors focus on systolic pressure in middle-aged and older adults. New guidelines recommend blood pressure for people of all ages be kept below 140/90 (130/85 for hypertensives with diabetes) and as low as possible for patients with heart or kidney failure.

THE CHEMO EFFECT

According to a Dartmouth Medical School study, chemotherapy may leave some patients with poor memory and concentration problems.  Psychologist Tim A. Ahles found that people who got standard chemo for breast cancer or lymphoma appeared to be twice as likely as those having surgery, local radiation or both to score poorly on memory and concentration tests.  And effects were present an average of ten years after treatment.
Commenting on the study, Dr. William Wood, chairman of the department of surgery at Atlanta’s Emory  University, notes that patients with early-stage disease often opt for aggressive chemo,  even though statistically it offers an improvement in survival of only a few percentage points.  “This may give second thoughts to people who really would not get much benefit” from the treatment.

C-SECTION A PLUS

A recent study has proven that cesarean section is the safest method of delivering fullterm breech babies.  Led by Dr. Mary Hannah, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Science Center, University of Toronto, the study included 2,088 women from 121 hospitals in 26 countries and was conducted over three years. The results showed that breech babies delivered by C-section were three our four times less likely to die or to have serious problems in the first six weeks of life than those delivered vaginally. In Canada, some 14,000 women will deliver a baby in breech presentation at term every year.

DIABETES ADVANCE

Fifteen diabetic patients have been freed from dependence on injected insulin thanks to a transplant of insulin-secreting pancreatic islets along with a new combination of antirejection drugs. A research team headed by Dr. James Shapiro, director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program at the University of Alberta, performed the procedure, in which a catheter was inserted into the patient’s abdoment with the aid of a needle.  Then purified islets (taken from cadaver pancreases) were infused into the portal vein leading to the liver.  They lodged in that organ and began producing insulin  in response to sugars in the patient’s blood. Thirteen of the 15 patients have not required insulin for more than a year.
Additional studies of the procedure are continuing.  For example, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International (JDF) have funded the Immune Tolerance Network, which is overseeing trials in at least ten institutions.
Researchers caution, however, that recipients must take immune-supressing drugs for the rest of their lives, which possibly places them at increased risk of infections and certain cancers.  Also, the technique’s long-term safety and effectiveness have yet to be established. Nonetheless, says JDF scientific director Dr. Richard Furlanetto, “This is perhaps the most important finding in Type 1-diabetes research in the past decade.”

WHEN THE POT THICKENS

Middle-aged men with waists 90 centimeters (36 inches) or more carry an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to new Canadian findings.  Jean Pierre Despres, head of research at the Quebec Heart Institute and a professor of medicine and nutrition at Laval University in Quebec City, says a high concentration of triglyceride fats places men with thick waists in an even higher risk category for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in Canada.
Despres presented his findings at the European Society of Cardiology’s Annual Congress in August 2000.  At a symposium on obesity, Despres explained that giving men with waistlines beyond 90 centimetres a simple blood test to measure triglyceride levels is an effective and early way for family doctors to identify patients at risk. “Physicians can the work with them on prevention, rather than treating heart disease after the fact,” he said.

WHY YOU NEED VITAMIN E

Alvin C. Chan, a professor of biochemistry at the university of Ottawa, has taken vitamin E every day for the last 25 years.  For the past 15 years, so has his mother, who at 80 walks regularly, practises tai chi and does her own shopping, cooking and house cleaning.
Chan’s interest in the supplement began in the mid-’70s, when his professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto told him about the potential of antioxidants like vitamin E for reducing heart disease and other illnesses.  Chan then began to study E’s role in combatting atherosclerosis, a type of artery hardening that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Chan had a special reason for wanting to look into the possible benefits of vitamin E: All four of his grandparents had died from strokes, some at a relatively young age.  “Because of my family background, I decided to look into the mechanisms that cause atherosclerosis.”
Now 59, Chan is convinced his own blood pressure is still normal thanks to the 200 milligrams of vitamin E he takes twice a day.  His mother also thinks the supplements is why she’s still so alert and active.
Back in the 1930s, Evan and Wilfrid Shute – two brothers from London, Ontario, both obstetricians – were the first to realize that vitamin E had a variety of healing properties. A wealth of research done since then backs that up.  For example, a study of 2313 men aged 45 to 70, conducted at Quebec City’s University Hospital Centre, found that whose who took a five vitamin supplement including E had a 70-percent reduction of death due to ischemic heart disease. Other studies done suggest that vitamin E may help prevent atherosclerosis, limit damage from cigarette smoking, ward off cataracts, reduce leg cramps, ease arthritic symptoms and delay the ravages of Alzheimer’s.
But don’t most of us get sufficient vitamin E from diet alone?” No, we don’t, says Dr. Ranjit Chandra, an authority on immunology and nutrition and professor of medicine at Memorial University in St. John’s Nfld.  “And the need for a supplement is even greater in people over 55 who don’t eat properly.” Protective levels of E are far higher than what you typically get from foods – such as wheat germ, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds – with the highest E concentrations.  To consume just 100 IUs (International Units), the minimum dose in most supplements, you’d have to eat two kilograms of spinach or more than 580 grams of peanuts.
If even half the early findings about E are proved in continuing research, this vitamin could indeed be a boon to overall health care.  Here’s evidence of how it may help you.
VITAMIN E BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
According to Jeffrey Blumberg, a human nutrition researcher at Tufts University in Boston, supplementing a healthful diet with vitamin E may offer many benefits.  “We think you could be safer from infectious diseases-colds, flu, tuberculosis.”
Researchers at Tufts tested the effects of vitamin E on the immune systems of healthy older people in four-mounth study, theorizing that with vitamin E they might boost those immune defenses to more effective levels.  Each of 88 volunteers, 65 and older, was assigned to one of four groups.  Members of the first group got 60 IUs of vitamin E a day; a second group got 200 IUs; a third got 800; and the fourth got placebos.
What they discovered was startling.  Normally, immune cells become less efficient as we age and don’t protect our body as much against disease.  But the cells of the vitamin E groups didn’t act their age. “The responses of 65 and 70 year olds looked more like those of 40 year olds,” says Blumberg.
Subjects taking 200 IUs got a bigger immune system boost than the ones who got only 60.  But the 200 IUs group also fared better than those on 800 IUs.  Why?  The researchers suspect 200 IUs may be the optimal dose for immune system benefits.  “With supplements, it’s preferable to take modest amounts instead of megadoses,” warns Dr. Tapan K. Basu, professor of nutritional biochemistry at the University of Alberta and editor of Antioxidants in Human  Health and Diseases journal.
VITAMIN E MAY CUT CARDIAC RISK
Dr. Ishwarlal Jialal of the University of Texas South Western Medical Centre in Dallas has found signs of heart protective effects in his research on vitamin E.  More interesting, his results hint at reasons why vitamin E cuts cardiac risk. For his study, he gave 21 healthy people far more than the usual dose: 1200 IUs per day for eight weeks.  He found that vitamin E reduced oxidation of LDL (low density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol), which helps form plaque in coronary arteries.  In addition, he found vitamin E impaired the function of plaque-producing cells in those arteries.  These findings mean that vitamin E may help prevent atherosclerosis.
But the final verdict is not in.  The on going HOPE study, led by researchers in Hamilton, has found no evidence that vitamin E reduces the incidence of stroke or heart attack, while several other large studies have suggested cardiac benefits with vitamin E.  One such study, conducted recently in Great Britain on 2002 patients with coronary heart disease, revealed that those who took vitamin E had a 77 percent lower risk of a repeat, nonfatal heart attack.  “People at high risk for heart disease should definitely take the vitamin,” Dr. Chandra says.
VITAMIN E MIGHT FIGHT CANCER
When testing E against cancer, scientist have come up with contradictory findings. Some studies found no change in the incidence of cancer but others recorded lower rates of cancer among people taking vitamin E.
A four year study of 1070 people at Montreal’s Hotel Dieu Hospital revealed that those who had a diet rich in vitamin E reduced their risk of colon cancer by 47 percent.  Scientist have long suspected that a diet low in vitamin E increases the risk for developing cancer, while higher levels are associated with lower risk.
A study of 27000 male Finnish smokers, aged 50 to 69, showed benefits with just 50 IUs of the nutrient.  Among those taking vitamin E instead of a placebo, the men had 32 percent fewer cases of prostate cancer.  More impressive, there were 41 percent fewer prostate-cancer deaths.
Another study now under way at Quebec City’s Laval University Cancer Research Centre on 540 patients with early stage head and neck cancer theorizes that those taking high doses of vitamin E will significantly reduce the occurrence of further cancers.
“There has been quite a lot of evidence from test-tube studies that shows vitamin E can prevent certain types of cancer,” Dr. Basu says.  Other studies are currently testing the vitamin’s effects on colon, lung and breast cancers.
VITAMIN E MAY SLOW ALZHEIMER’S
In years past, Carl Cotman of the University of California, Irvine, regretted having to announce at medical conferences that researchers like himself still had no strategy to slow the horrible progression of Alzheimer’s. Then, one day in his laboratory, Cotman saw under the microscope what he thought might be the beginning of an answer.  When he took neurons and added beta amyloid (the substance that accumulates in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient), the brain cells committed “cell suicide” by disintegrating.  But when vitamin E was added, the “suicide” never occurred.  Cells stayed healthy.
Could the vitamin’s protective effect be replicated in the living brain?
In a nine year study in the Netherlands of 5395 dementia-free men and women over 55, researchers assessed participants intake of dietary and supplemental antioxidants and subsequent incidence of dementia from Alzheimer’s disease by about 25 percent.
Though hardly a cure, researchers have finally seen something that slows the disease.  A three-year National Institute on Aging Study of 720 Canadians and Americans with memory problems is currently testing the effects of vitamin E in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s.
OTHER BENEFIT OF VITAMIN E
This vitamin may offer a range of everyday advantages as well. A study in Italy showed that a combination of vitamin E and silicone gel significantly decreased wound healing time and scarring.  Other studies found that topical applications of vitamin E and C improve resistance to sunburn. And a number of studies suggest the vitamin’s effectiveness in cataract prevention.
Event if you’re in perfect health, exercise regularly, keep stress to a minimum and eat a balanced diet, you can still benefit from vitamin supplements, doctors say.
How much should you take?
“Four hundred IUs on top of what we get from food should help protect against a number of diseases,” Dr. Basu says.  Because vitamin C is necessary to maintain vitamin E’s healing quality, experts suggest adding 100 milligrams of C to your daily diet.  Like any supplement, however, E may be less safe at extremely high doses and may throw off the balance of other nutrients in your body.
Considering the benefits of vitamin E, there’s every reason to give it a try, says Chan, who calls the supplement the heart vitamin.
IS VITAMIN E ALWAYS SAFE?
Supplements of this micronutrient are safe for most people (up to about 1000 IUs), but there are caveats.  If you drink a lot of tea, take aspirin to protect against heart disease or take any other prescription drug, check with your doctor.  Vitamin E, like tea and aspirin, is a blood thinner, so your physician may want to adjust how much you take.  Also, because vitamin E may promote bleeding, don’t take it prior to surgery or if you use anticoagulant drugs.
Dr. Parviz Ghadirian, director of the Epidemiology Research Unit at the University of Montreal’s Hospital Centre, has been studying the role of nutrition and cancer for more than 30 years.  He cautions overweight people to be careful with the supplement.
“Because vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound that is stored in fatty tissues, it can become toxic in the long run if too much is absorbed,” he says.  Vitamin E should also be used cautiously if you have high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid or rheumatic heart disease.

THE ULTIMATE LIFT

In their mid-30s, women begin to lose about a third of a pound of muscle every year. By the age of 35, they start losing as much as one percent of their bone mass every two years, and this gets worse at menopause. It adds up-one tendency leads to fat, and the other can lead to osteoporosis. But you can slow the process down-in just 40 minutes a week.  Researchers have known for a long time that strength training can delay bone and muscle loss, but now they have discovered that the workouts can also be minimal.
Strength training helps keep your weight down because muscle burns more calories than does fat. Bones need regular, varied stress to promote growth. Improving bone strength takes somewhat longer than building up muscles, says Boston’s Tufts University scientist Miriam E. Nelson, author of Strong Women, Strong Bones: Everything You Need to Know to Prevent, Treat, and Beat Osteoporosis.
In 1994 study, Nelson compared the bone density of women in a control group with that of women on a simple strength-training program.  After a year the control group had lost about two percent of their bone density, but the women who lifted weights had gained an average of one percent.  The difference is small-but highly significant for preventing osteoporosis, Nelson says.
What’s even more encouraging is that recent research shows that building up enough muscle to make a substantial health difference takes far less time and effort than previously thought. For instance, in most strength-training programs, exercises are done in three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each.  But it turns out that you can do yourself almost as much good with just one set per exercise.
“When researchers compare people on three-set and one-set programs, they find that novice exercisers get about 90 percent of the strength and endurance benefit simply by doing the first set,” says Barry Franklin, coauthor of the American Heart Association’s recent advisory on strength training. “To get the most benefit in the least amount of time, do one set each of eight to ten different exercises twice a week.”
To make the most of your 20 minutes twice a week, however, you need to observe some rules.
- Start small. “Keep your program simple, something you can do for a lifetime,” says Wayne Westcott, fitness research director for the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusets.
- Begin with a weight that you find somewhat challenging.  Lift slowly-two seconds raising the weight, four lowering it.  At the end of a set, you should feel tired.
- Keep progressing. As the exercises become easier to handle, move to the next heavier weight.
- Combine the workout with something you like, suggests Nelson, such as music or TV.
Finally, just try it.  “Withing three weeks, you will feel so different,” Nelson says. “The transformation is amazing.”
THE TWO MINUTE WORKOUT
This bare-bones workout is a great start to slowing bone and muscle loss. It requires only dumbbells, a chair, and a carpeted area to lie on.  Go through the routine twice a week on nonconsecutive days.
Unless noted, do one set of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise (ten to 15 reps if you are over 50). Be sure to warm up with five minutes of stretching brisk walking or jogging in place.  Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Dumbbell Squat.
Stand holding two dumbbells at your sides.  Bend your knees as if you were about to sit down on a chair.  Do not allow your knees to extend beyond your toes. Pause when your thighs are almost parallel to the floor, and slowly rise back to the starting position.
Alternating Lunge.
Stand holding two dumbbells at your sides. Take a long step forward with your right foot.  Your right thigh should be almost parallel to the floor, and your left knee should poingt at the floor.  Don’t let your right knee extend beyond your toes. Return to starting position and repeat with other foot.  Do eight to 12 reps on each side.
Shoulder Press.
Stand holding two dumbbells slightly in front of your shoulders. Lift the dumbbells straight over your head until your arms are fully extended.  Pause and lower the weights back to shoulder level.
Dumbbell Row.
Stand alongside a chair, left foot in front of your right foot, and a dumbbell in your right hand.  Bend over, holding the chair with your left hand to support, and drop your right hand towards the floor.  Pull the dumbbell up until it is tucked into your side. Lower the weight, do eight to 12 reps, and repeat with your left arm.
Triceps Extension.
Stand with arms extended straight up, a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells in back of you. Do not allow your elbows to move forward or backward, and lower the weight only until your forearms are parallel to the floor.  Pause and lift the dumbbells to the starting position.
Biceps Curl.
Stand with elbows tucked into your sides, a dumbbell in each hand.  Raise the right dumbbell by bending your elbow until your arm muscle is fully contracted, then lower the weight.  A set consists of eight to 12 reps on each arm.
Lower-Back Extension.
Lie flat on your stomach with your legs straight.  Place your right arm along your side and your left arm straight forward.  Raise both your right leg and left arm several centimetres off the floor, keeping your leg straight.  Slowly return to the starting position.  Do eight reps, then eight with the other arm and leg.
Abdominal Crunch.
Lie on your back with your knees bent.  With both hands behind your neck for support, contract your abdomen and raise your shoulder blades several centimetres off the floor.  Slowly lower your shoulders and repeat.

HERBAL REMEDIES THAT REALLY WORK

…Splitting headache? Down in the dumps? Stuck in hot-flash hell? Why don’t you try these herbal remedies.

Most people hate drugs. Some times they’ve got to have a headache the size of Texas before they’ll even take Aspirin.  When allergies, PMS (for women) and fatigue had them longing for the couch most of the day, they just bought more coffee and tissues.
These weren’t the cure-all they’d hoped for. So, most people usually visiting a traditional Chinese doctor (sinshe) and more surprising, actually following his instructions.
So, why most people, have to trust his earthy-smelling concoctions? For one thing, he quizzed everybody about every aspect of their life and explained his treatment plan in detail.  What’s more, his mysterious liquids seemed to work.  In fact, many people don’t tell their doctors that they use herbs.  Yet these remedies can be powerful stuff.
“Natural is not the same as safe,” advises V. Srini Srinivasan of the United States Pharmacopeia, an agency that develops standards for drugs and supplements.  “Generally, you should treat herbs and herbal supplements more like drugs. Be cautious.”
People must educate themselves about that works, what doesn’t and what’s downright dangerous.  Here’s what the herbal experts say about six key health concerns.
SPLITING HEADACHE
Try feverfew. Prized since the days of the Roman Empire as a healing herb, feverfew is believed to reduce pounding in the head by influencing the way blood vessels contract. Interest was revived more than a decade ago when British studies found it decreased the number and severity of migraines.  Research since has been less favourable, but Varro Tyler, coauthor of Tyler’s Honest Herbal, insists: “It’s highly regarded as a prevention for migraines.”
Feverfew shoud not be combined with drugs or supplements that thin the blood, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin), since the herb can slow clotting.
RULES OF THUMB.
- Avoid multiherb pills altogether.
- Stop all suplements two to three weeks before surgery.
- Buy from a reliable source.
- Clue in your doctor and pharmacist about your herbs.
- Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not take herbs without a doctor’s advice.
FEELING LETHARGIC?
Try some ginseng. Among herbs, ginseng leads as a safe energy promoter.  Usually thought of as a male aphrodisiac, it is also used by the Chinese to ease fatigue.  Look for the Asian form, Panax ginseng: Scientist theorize that it activates the adrenal gland, which in turn stimulates metabolism and endocrine function.  In Swedish and Mexican studies, people who took ginseng for 12 weeks said their quality of life improved more than those who popped a vitamin or placebo.  Ginseng also helped the vigour of a group of 36 people with noninsulin-dependent diabetes.  But since ginseng reduces glucose levels, it can effect the action of blood-sugar-lowering drugs like insulin and glipizide (Glucotrol).
Some experts advise avoiding ginseng if you have hypertension (it may raise blood pressure) and note that some psychiatrists worry about potential interactions with antidepressants that are monoamineoxidase (MAO) inhibitors, like Parnate and Nardil.  Ginseng shouldn’t be combined with drugs or supplements that thin the blood.
IN A FUNK?
Try St. John’s wort. A 1996 review of 23 studies found that this herb chased away mild to moderate depression as effectively as some prescription drugs.  Patients taking Hypericum perforatum also seemed to have fewer side effects than those on the prescribed antidepressants.
Recently, however, researchers have found that the herb’s interaction with certain drugs can have serious consequences-so much so that some manufacturers now put warnings on labels. St. John’s wort may weaken the effects of some drugs, including theophylline (for asthma), digoxin (for congestive heart failure) and indinavir (for HIV infection).  Women on the Pill could have irregular bleeding and risk their contraception failing. And the herb may intensify the power of prescription antidepressants, leading to an increase in side effects such as dizziness.
Though St. John’s wort still holds first place on the experts list of alternative mood brighteners, if you’re on long-term medication or suffer from a chronic disease, you should consult a physician before using it.
STARTING TO SNIFFLE?
Try echinacea.  To stop a cold before it stop you, echinacea is still your best bet. Studies show that this botanical from the purple coneflower can stop sniffles and soothe a sore throat (or at least shorten your agony by a few days).
Swallow echinacea at the first sign of a cold. But since the herb is a member of the same family as ragweed, people who suffer from hayfever may find what it worsens their symptoms.  As well, skip it if you have an autoimmune disease, as some experts think it could overstimulate your immune system and work against your medications.
STRESSED-OUT?
Try kava kava. In Polynesia this muscle relaxant and anxiety reducer from the roots of pepper-family plant has a long history as a potion to induce calm. Unlike most tranquillizers, Piper-methysticum extract seems to take the edge off without spacing you out.  British scientists recently reviewed seven small but well-designed studies and decided the herb is relatively effective against mild anxiety.  It can also help you sleep. But stay away from other herbs that have a depressive or sedative effect, as well as alcohol and prescription antianxiety drugs.
IN HOT-FLASH HELL?
Try black cohosh.  Native Americans have long used Cimicifuga racemosa to treat women’s gynecological ailments. Science is now catching up. In one study, German researchers found black cohosh just as effective as estrogen in treating the sudden sweats and low spirits associated with menopause.  A review of eight studies led University of Bridgeport, Conn., nutrition scientist Shari Lieberman to conclude the extract is both safe and effective.
Before taking any plant-based remedy, consult a doctor or pharmacist who can point you towards reliable brands and help you avoid allergic reactions or dangerous combinations. The amount of active ingredient may vary from brand to brand, so follow the dosage on the label.

NERVE REGENERATION

Serious accidents that damage the spinal cord and impair a patient’s ability to feel and move often lead to a lifetime of disability.  Until recently it was thought that damaged nerves would never regenerate.
But in a study published in the journal Neuron, Samuel David, a neuroscientist, Peter Braun, a biochemist, Da Wei Huang, a post doctoral fellow of McGill University, and Lisa McKerracher, a neuroscientist from the University of Montreal, report that a new vaccine can stimulate nerve growth after a spinal cord injury.  The researchers focused on the myelin sheath, which insulates and wraps around the nerve fibres in the spinal cord.
This myelin sheath contains molecules that inhibit nerve regeneration. Made of purified myelin, the vaccine initiated a response in the immune systems of disabled mice, which began producing antibodies to the inhibitors in the myelin.  The result was regeneration of motor neurons and the recovery of some limb function.
David cautions that much work remains before a vaccine is tested on humans.

DRUG ALERT

After months of debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced stricter controls on the diabetes drug troglitazone (Rezulin), saying doctors should use it only for patients who don’t respond to other therapies and only in conjunction with other diabetes drugs such as insulin.  The FDA’s move comes after an advisory committee investigated a link between the drug and about 40 cases of liver failure, including 28 deaths.  Under new regulations, doctors will be required to monitor all troglitazone patients monthly for the first year and every three months thereafter for potential liver damage. So, be careful!

STAY THE COURSE

Don’t be alarmed if osteoporosis drugs designed to improve your bone-mineal density (BMD) don’t do so the first year that you take them. By year two, they probably will. Researchers analyzing data from studies involving more than 10,000 women who took alendronate (Fosamax) or raloxifene (Evista) found that a very small percentage of the women appeared to lose BMD over the first year.  But 92 percent of the alendronate group and 79 percent of those treated with raloxifene showed gains during the second year.

NUTRITION FACTS

The survey showed that at least 1/4 of the calories we now eat come from high calorie, high fat and/or high-sugar foods with little nutritional value.  In other words, foods like soft drinks, cookies, chips, salad dressings and oils are now the largest source of calories (as well as fat for that matter) in the average Canadian diet.  Want to lose weight? Relegating these foods to “treat” status will help. Also, try increasing your activity level, e.g. more walking, less driving.
ON MEAT & ALTERNATIVES
Close to half of women and 1 in 4 men don’t eat the minimum 2 daily servings of meat and alternatives. Action tips: when eating salads, add some meat, fish or chick peas.
ON MILK PRODUCTS
More than half surveyed didn’t eat even the minimum recommended 2 daily servings of milk products.  So it’s no surprise that most women and many men don’t meet their daily calcium needs.  Action tips: A simple glass of milk, or slice of cheese, at mealtimes makes a big difference.
ON VEGETABLES & FRUIT
More than half the population doesn’t eat the minimum 5 daily servings of vegetables and fruit.  Action tips: toss some dried fruit into your morning cereal and nibble on some baby carrots while cooking dinner – that could be 2 more servings right there.
ON GRAIN PRODUCTS
Half of women and a third of men don’t eat the minimum 5 daily servings. Action tip: Have at least one grain product with every meal, like whole multigrain cereal at breakfast, whole grain bread at lunch and rice at dinner.
For your information, milk and cheese contain calcium that you need for your bones, vegetables and orange juice contain folacin, red meat contain zinc, breakfast cereals and meat contain iron.  So be wise in choosing your meals.

LACTOSE INTOLERANT? DON’T GIVE UP THE GOODNESS OF MILK

Lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to digest lactose, the natural sugar found in milk and milk products.  Lactose is a natural part of the milk of all mammals, including human, cows and goats milk.  It is also used as a sweetener in many processed foods.  Our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down the lactose into simpler sugars which can be easily digested. People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase to digest all the lactose in their food.  There are varying degrees of lactose intolerance, where some people can tolerate more lactose than others, but all tend to experience symptoms like gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea after consuming milk or milk products.
SHOULD YOU GIVE UP MILK?
No matter what your age, milk is an essential part of a well-balanced diet. It provides energy plus 15 essential nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, protein and vitamins A and D – all of which are essential in building healthy bones and teeth.
Rather than forego the healthful advantages provided by milk and milk products, there are some simple measures that people with lactose intolerance can take to enable them to better tolerate milk and maximize its benefits.
MAKE MILK MORE TOLERABLE.
Here some tips for you:
- Drink small amounts of milk throughout the day, 1/4-1/2 cup/75-125 ml servings.
- Drink milk during meals.  Food slows the passage of lactose through the small intestines, giving the enzyme lactase more time to digest it/
- Drink whole milk or add chocolate to milk, both of which improve lactose digestion.
- Eat yogurts with active bacteria which help to digest lactose.
- Eat hard aged cheeses (e.g. Cheddar, Edam, Swiss) which have low levels of lactose.
- Drink lactose-reduced milk or add lactose drops to regular milk before you drink it.
- Swallow or chew lactase tablets before eating milk or milk products.
For taste and good nutrition, enjoy 2 to 4 servings of milk products every day.
If you can’t digest dairy foods, but wish you could, take Lactaid Ultra (available in many drugstore). It’s a natural solution for lactose intolerance in the only ultra convenient format. Just one caplet or chewable tablet is often enough to prevent the digestive upset experienced after eating dairy foods.

EATING LESS MEAT?

A well-planned vegetarian diet has many health benefits to offer. Perhaps that’s why the number of vegetarians has grown from an estimated 2.3 million in 1997 to over five million in 2008.
Many people, including growing numbers of teens and young children, become vegetarians by simply pushing their steak or satay aside and eating the remaining garnishes-perhaps potato salad, a roll or three, and a bowl of lettuce doing the backstroke in dressing. Great news if you have stock in starch and fat; bad news if you eat like this.
“Good intentions gone awry,” says Ann Grandjean, executive director of the nonprofit Centre for Human Nutrition in Omaha, Nebraska.  “Plenty of vegetarians eat a healthy, well-planned diet.  But plenty of others don’t do their homework. And that get you into trouble.”
THE POWER OF PLANTS.
There is good reason to move towards a plant-centred diet. Science has found a simple cause-and-effect relationship: Reduce the amount of animal fat you eat, and you’ll reduce the fat clinging to your arteries. You’ll also enjoy a decreased risk of heart disease and possibly lower your odds of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and certain cancers. Some doctors are recommending that people already fighting these illness take up a vegetarian lifestyle to combat their symptoms.
FOUR WAYS TO GO.
Experts classify vegetarians into various categories. The semivegetarians dump red meat but still eat chicken, fish and dairy products. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eschew meat, fish and poultry, but consume dairy products and eggs.  Lacto-vegetarians go a step further and eliminate eggs. At the end of the line, vegans-the pure vegetarians-stick to all-vegetable diets bereft of animal foods, dairy products and eggs.
But as you move from the semivegetarian to the vegan, foods fall away. And as tehy do, you must be increasingly vigilant.
When you drop red meat from your diet, you lose a reliable source of vitamin B-12, iron, protein and zinc. Drop dairy products, and there go your most common calcium sources.
Vegetarian substitutes for these nutrients exist. For example, 250 millilitres of cooked soybeans contain the protein equivalent of 110 gram hamburger or half a litre of milk. For many people, however, the vegetable world is uncharted territory. To get calcium, most people would drink a glass of milk; they wouldn’t think to eat calcium-rich bok choy or collard greens.
“It’s simple,” says Grandjean. “Good nutrition is about variety-any time you start leaving out entire groups of foods, you lose that variety.  The more restrictive the diet, the more you need to think about your food choices.”
CAUTIONARY TALES.
Being misinformed can lead to deficiencies and serious problems. Subsist on bread and salad alone, as some weight-watching teens are known to do, and you deny your bones the calcium they need to stay strong, gradually increasing your risk of fracture.
How to prevent such deficiencies? Aspiring vegetarians should make sure their daily consumption includes six to 11 servings of bread and cereals; three to five servings of fruit; up to three servings of milk, yogurt, cheese or other calcium-rich foods; two to three servings of beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, tofu or peanut butter; and sparing use of fats, oils and sweets.
“Make sure you’re eating foods from all of these groups every day,” says Grandjean. “If you are, you’re fine. If you’re not, you’re at risk.” While the above guidelines include eggs and dairy products, vegans can still get all their nutrients with wise substitutions.
Another concern: Young vegetarian athletes who train three hours or more, six or seven days a week-college swimmers or marathon runners, for example-need to eat more to replace the calories they burn. If they don’t, the body starts cannibalizing itself, using protein in muscles for fuel instead of for growth and rebuilding tissue.
But getting enough calories from plant-based foods can be a problem. A baked potato, 250 millilitres of brown rice and lentils, 125 millilitres of carrots and of peas, an lettuce and tomato salad, a banana, an apple, an orange, and six walnuts total only 890 calories. A college swimmer can burn 6000 calories a day.  The solution? Frequent snacking on healtful foods.
The bottom line, say the experts, is that you can stay in tip-top shape on a vegetarian diet as long as you consume enough calories, minerals, proteins and vitamins. Bon appetit!
NO MEAT? NO PROBLEMO!
When you give up meat, you lose a good source of some key nutrients. A vegetarian diet can provide them, you just need to know where to look. See a dietitian to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients.
Calcium: Men and women ages 25 to 50 need 1000 milligrams a day. One serving of almonds (50 ml) has 378 mg; frozen collard greens (250 ml), 357 mg; soybeans (250 ml), 175 mg, broccoli (125 ml), 42 mg.
Iron: Men 25 to 50 need 8 mg a day; women, 18 mg. One serving of dry roasted cashews (18 nuts) has 8 mg, kidney beans (125 ml), 8 mg, lentils (50 ml), 7 mg.
Protein: Strict vegetarian men may need as much as 0,6 grams per pound of body weight; women 0,5 grams. One serving of soybeans (250 ml) has 29 grams; one meatless burger, 15 grams; chickpeas (125 ml), 15 grams; yogurt (250 ml), 14 grams; peanut butter (30 ml), 8 grams; sunflower seeds (50 ml), 6 grams.
Zinc: Men 25 to 50 need 15 mg a day; women,12 mg. One serving of toasted wheat germ (50 ml) has 19 mg, bran flakes (300 ml), 5 mg; tofu (125 ml), 2 mg.
Vitamin B-12: Significant amounts of B-12 are found only in animal products. Strict vegetarians can get this vitamin from fortified nutritional yeast, B-12-fortified soy milk or B-12 tablets.

COMPLEx CARBOHYDRATE INTOLERANCE – CCI ?

Prevention of bloating, gas pain, or discomfort caused by CCI, begins with the missing enzyme.
More and more people are realizing the importance of healthy eating. Unfortunately, many of us find that some of the same foods that are so good for us can often cause gas, bloating and considerable discomfort.
Foods like vegetables, legumes, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds contain complex carbohydrates. If bloating and discomfort occur from eating these foods, it is often a condition called Complex Carbohydrate Intolerance (CCI).
CCI occurs because we lack the enzyme necessary to digest these complex carbohydrates. Undigested carbohydrates pass into the lower intestine causing gas. The build up of gas results in discomfort, bloating and sometimes pain.
HELP STOP THE DISCOMFORT BEFORE IT STARTS!
Fortunately, there is a product that can help prevent the symptoms of CCI by providing the missing enzyme needed to fully digest foods containing complex carbohydrates. This missing enzyme is contained in a natural sourced product called BEANO (available in many drugstore).
BEANO contains an enzyme that work with your body’s digestion. When you take BEANO with your first mouthful of gas producing food, it breaks down the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars which your body can easily digest. This helps prevent the bloating and discomfort before it starts.

DEADLY ALLERGY

Four times in her 13 years, Aly Rush has been raced to the hospital with a life-threatening reaction to peanuts. Now she is participating in a groundbreaking experiment: getting once-a month shots of an antibody dubbed Hu-901. It’s hoped this drug can block the body’s immunoglobulin E (IgE), which sensitizes immune cells to release chemicals such as histamines when exposed to peanuts.
Dr. Donald Leung, pediatric allergy chief at the National Jewish Medical and Research Centre in Denver, says that a few patients tested so far have had significant improvement in symptoms. Leung is very optimistic. In addition to the Denver site, studies are being conducted at six other U.S. centres.
For more information, visit http://www.peanutallergyresource.com

HERB INTERACTION

The anticoagulant warfarin, used to prevent blood clots and to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack, should not be mixed herbal remedies before a health-care professional has been consulted.
Researchers have identified 38 herbs, including chamomile, ginko and licorice root, that have chemical properties that can either block or enhance warfarin’s effects. In the latter case, there is an increased risk of bleeding.
In a review article published in the American Journal of Health System Pharmacy, Amy Heck,Ph.D. in pharmacy, and colleagues at Purdue University and Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind, wrote, “More food and drug interactions have been reported tof warfarin than for any other prescription medication.”
Further study is needed to clarify just what the risk are.  Meanwhile, doctors should find out all they can about what herbal remedies their patients are using.

EXPERIMENTAL LEUKEMIA DRUG

Roughly 400 Canadians are diagnosed each year with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood; most survive four to six years after diagnosis. The standard treatment is a bone-marrow transplant, but only a third of patients find a matched donor.  Currently the drug interferon is used to prolong life, but it has unpleasant side effects.
But now an experimental drug ST1571, has proved 98 percent effective in regulating patient’s blood counts.
In chronic myelogenous leukemia, something causes the DNA in bone-marrow cells to mutate. This causes overproduction of an enzyme that triggers the cancer. “This drug inhibits enzyme activity and prevents uncontrolled cell growth,” says Dr. Brian Drucker, a professor of medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, where some of the trials were conducted.
While blood cell counts of patients daily taking the drug returned to normal, the genetic mutation that triggers the disease does not always disappear. But “what I can say is ST1571 has restored a quality of life and health that is remarkable.” Clinical trials are being conducted at several hospitals across Canada.

ALZHEIMER DISEASE – EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS KEY

The first thing to know is that Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a disease of the brain. Normally, the brain sends messages and instructions through the complex network of cells to all parts of the body and throughout the brain itself. These communications are sent via chemical messengers called neutrotransmitters. Researchers believe that one important neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, is involved in the memory process. since people with Alzheimer’s disease have less acetylcholine in their brains, the brain cells have trouble communicating.  One of the goals of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is to increase the amount of acetylcholine in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s memory, emotions, mood, behaviour and physical capacities. People with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble thinking properly and remembering people, places and things. It becomes harder for them to make judgements and to communicate with others, and it may make simple activities difficult. The symptoms of this disease get worse over time, and can include:
- Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation regarding time and place
- Poor or decreased judgement
- Difficulty with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood or behaviour
- Changes in personality
- Loss of interest or initiative
Fortunately, if the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease are recognized early, they can be treated with proven oral medication. And be sure to speak to your family and doctors immediately.
Alzheimer’s disease could be staring you in the face. But there is still hope. It comes in the form of proven treatments for the symptoms of mild to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. And since these oral medications became available over ten years ago, many people have been helped to lead better lives.  It could mean the difference between fearing the future and facing it. See your local doctors now for more information.

GOOD FAT BAD FAT

Is margarine bad for you? Are hydrogenated fats in margarine harmful? Is butter better? These are all important questions. News stories based on recent research studies have seriously confused the issue. Should we be concerned about hydrogenated fats as occur in many commercial margarines, referred to as “trans-fatty acids”?
The problem is more complex than just saying “hydrogenated” fats, because there are many different margarines, made with many different fatty acids. Hydrogenation of one fatty acid does not produce the same effect as hydrogenationh of other fatty acids.
What does hydrogenation mean? It is related to the division of fatty acids into saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and highly polyunsaturated fatty acids. Fatty acids are attached to glycerol to form fat, whether it is in your body or in your food. Triglycerides measured in your bloodstream are simply three fatty acids attached to glycerol (glycerine).
A saturated fatty acid is a long carbon chain and each spot on the chain that can hold a hydrogen atom has one.  There is no room to attach more hydrogen atoms so it is saturated.
Unsaturated fatty acids have at least one area where two adjacent carbon atoms are not attached to the hydrogen atoms- “there is an empty seat on the bus.” When one pair of seats is empty, it is a monounsaturated fatty acid. If two or more pairs are empty, it is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Some fatty acids, particularly those found in cold-water fish oil, may have five or six pairs of empty seats on the bus, and these are now designated as highly polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Hydrogenation simply means filling one or more empty seats on the bus. If you did this to a monounsaturated fatty acid, you would convert it to a saturated fatty acid. That is considered bad if you want to limit your saturated fat intake. But if you add hydrogen to only one pair of carbon atoms in a polyunsaturated fat, you still have an empty pair of seats on the bus and it is a monounsaturated fatty acid, not a saturated fatty acid. That can happen when soybean oil is hydrogenated.
It is misleading to state that hydrogenating unsaturated fatty acids convert them to saturated fatty acids. It depends entirely on which unsaturated fatty acids are hydrogenated. In terms of margarine that means partially  hydrogenated fatty acids in some oils used in making margarine will be decidedly different from margarines made using different fatty acids – for example, whether the margarine was made with hydrogenated corn oil or soybean oil and how much was converted.
Obviously, you could hydrogenate one spot on a highly polyunsaturated fatty acid and it would still be a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The glib general statement that hydrogenating oils used to make margarine is bad for you lacks specificity.
SOLID FACTS
Why would food companies want to hydrogenate unsaturated fatty acids? In the case of margarine, converting some of the unsaturated fatty acids to hydrogenated fatty acids makes it solid instead of liquid. It is possible to spread the margarine on bread. The Italians solve this problem by dipping bread into olive oil or pouring a bit of olive oil on their bread. The olive oil is seasoned to taste.
You have probably also read that unsaturated fats are liquid and saturated fats are solid. That is not true at all. While hydrogenating unsaturated fatty acids can be done to make a fat, as in margarine, more solid, the most highly saturated fatty acids – and the worst in terms of causing adverse changes in fatty-cholesterol levels-are liquid. Coconut oil is the prime example and not far behind are palm kernel oil and palm oil. These tropical oils must be avoided if you want to limit your saturated fat intake.
On the other hand, most animal fat is solid, even if it contains a significant amount of unsaturated fat. Chicken fat, which is solid, is only 31% saturated fat. The rest is all unsaturated fat. Pork fat – lard- is 41% saturated fat while beef tallow is 52% saturated fatty acids. If you are interested in limiting your saturated fat intake, your order of preference would be chicken, and beef. However, the amount of total fat of all kinds, and associated calories, are also a consideration.
It is not true that there are no advantages in using poultry versus beef if you want to be on a low-saturated fat diet, as many have been led to believe by some published statements. It is true that there is very little difference in the cholesterol content of the beef, poultry and pork. A skinned chicken breast is very low in fat of any kind, and provides even less saturated fat.
The amount of saturated fat in a food item is often more important than its cholesterol content. Some of the statements comparing poultry to beef are reminiscent of the claim by tropical oils that they contain “no cholesterol”. That is true since cholesterol occurs only in animal products, but such products as coconut oil will stimulate your body to produce an excess amount of cholesterol.
TRANSITORY CHANGES
Many research studies reported by the news media on the effects of fat in the diet are not applicable to the health of the majority of the general public that needs to know how to control abnormal fatty-cholesterol levels. It takes a minimum of six months on a new diet to be certain what its effects really on a transitory change, not necessarily a permanent change.
It is true that when many people lose weight, their total cholesterol will go down, but as they maintain their diet and stabilize their weight, the cholesterol may start to rise again. The body has learned to adapt to the new situation and produce the previously high levels of cholesterol. Nevertheless, short-term studies are constantly reported, and then, without critical analysis, duly reported on the evening news.
Other studies on cholesterol levels are done in perfectly healthy, young individuals who have quite normal cholesterol levels to begin with. Diets in these individuals will not reveal the affects that occur in a person who has abnormal cholesterol levels, such as a high total cholesterol level or a low HDL level. They are essentially meaningless in deciding what a person with such health problems needs to do.
It is analogous to putting a person with normal blood glucose levels on a diabetic diet and not seeing any effect, while in a diabetic, the limitation of sugars, sweets and weight reduction can have significant effects. These are some of the reasons for the confusion, both in the research community and in the news media regarding what is good and what is bad fat.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Some generalizations can safely be made and serve as guidelines as to what you can and should do. First, find out if you have any reason to need to be concerned about your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose or having excess weight. Diets are intended to correct problems.
1. If you have no health problems, it is best to follow a well-balanced mixed diet and enjoy yourself. Eat well and stay in shape. What needs to be done should be determined on an individual basis related to your personal health status, such as your cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels.
2. If you have a need to be concerned about the fat in your diet, then pay attention to the known facts. To lose bodyfat, limit fat intake of all types because all fats are high in calories. It doesn’t matter whether it is saturated or unsaturated, you will need to limit your fat intake. You should limit some carbohydrates too, such as sweets and starches.
3. If you need to limit saturated fat, limit your butter fat intake. You are better off to subtitute margarine because most commercially  available brands are far better in terms of the body’s response to cholesterol production than butter. Butterfat is 66% saturated fat. That doesn’t meant the tub and stick margarines are outstanding choices, but they are not as bad as butter in these terms. They are also cholesterol free.
4. Do use one of the cooking oils for food preparation, such as corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil or olive oil – oils low in saturated fat. If you want to take a page from the Italians, you may learn to dip your bread in olive oil or spread olive oil, seasoned to taste, on it. Or you could use another low saturated fat oil of your choice. Remember the calories, though.
5. When thinking of individual foods, remember that the entire diet, not specific items, must be considered. In most instances, using a suitable margarine for some things while using unsaturated oils for the rest of food preparation will meet the requirements to limit saturated fat intake. Liquid margarines in squeeze bottles contain less hydrogenated fatty acids than tub or stick margarine.
6. The next step is to see how such diet modifications work in your individual situation on a long-term basis, not just six weeks. If the diet changes are not adequate, further changes may be needed, more exercise may be required or you may need one of the medicines needed to improve blood cholesterol levels. What counts is what happens in your case, remember everybody diet is different. Individualize, don’t generalize.

BREAKFAST BARS, IS IT GOOD FOR HEALTH?

Today, grabbing breakfast is easier than ever before. As you dash down the stairs with briefcase in hand, you grab the car keys and your breakfast – a prepackaged cereal bar. But does a bar take the place of a complete breakfast?
With almost a whole grocery aisle to choose from, nutritional value depends on which bar you choose. Some bars contain a good deal of fiber with little or no fat. Others include added vitamins and minerals. But, unfortunately, most more closely resemble candy bars and contain refined sugar and plenty of fat – hardly nominees for complete breakfast choices.
The perfect breakfast might include a high fiber source (like whole-grain cereal), skim milk and a piece of fruit. But on those days when you’re running late (and you know breakfast is your most important meal), you’re better off grabbing something than doing without. Go ahead and reach for that breakfast bar, just remember to choose a bar that includes at least 2 grams of fiber and no more than 3 grams of fat.
Before you buy, check the label carefully for sugars (some of which are hidden under names like high-fructose corn syrup, honey and brown sugar), which can quickly add empty calories with few nutrients. Also consider other made-for the-road options: bagels, nonfat muffins, bananas and other fruits.
ALUMINIUM AWARENESS
Most calcium supplements contain calcium citrate, which is recognized for its fast absoption and nonconstipating properties. A recent study at the university of Colorado Medical Center in Denver, however, shows that the use of calcium citrate increases the body’s absorption of aluminium. Ironically, raised aluminium levels are tied to bone loss and, possibly, to Alzheimer’s disease, though follow-up research is necessary.
The Colorado study looked at 30 healthy women ages 21-45 who supplemented with 800 mg of calcium (which contained calcium citrate) daily. After an average of 38 days, the amount of aluminium in the women’s blood and urine doubled.
Aluminium is not normally easily absorbed by the body, but calcium citrate opens pathways between cells so that aluminium can rapidly penetrate the body.
Don’t stress out just yet: More pieces to the puzzle are needed. What you can do now, however, is to take note of the aluminium you consume (rather than calcium citrate) whenever possible. Aluminium is found in pickles, nondairy creamers, some teas and antacids. The metal can also seep into food from aluminium pots and pans.

VITAMIN C FOR FERTILITY
Among its many roles, vitamin C is important in reproduction. As Health Media communications Nutrition Report notes, “Some studies have found that dietary treatment with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) has improved sperm quality.” For women, the vitamin is involved not only in ovum development but in pregnancy. “Large quantities of ascorbic acid are utilized during human conception and are necessary to maintain the integrity of fetal membranes,” says the scientific newsletter. “A daily supplement of 500 mg Vitamin C, early in pregnancy, might reduce birth defects.” Of course, women should check with their doctors about preconception and prenatal vitamins and should avoid overdosing. Another vitamin, folic acid, is already considered a preventive of certain developmental defects.

JUMP – How one rope and the right techniques can make for the toughest workout of your life

Gym teachers loved jump ropes because they were both cruel and cheap – even the fittest high school jock would belly over after a fast fifteen minutes. The same is true today. Far from being an effete workout, jumping rope, when done properly, is a ball-buster. Because it incorporates all of your muscles simultaneously, it’s more physically demanding than running, cycling or tennis.
According to various sports and medical journals, a steady jump provides the same aerobic activity as running at 5,7 mph. And, says Dr. Gerald Fletcher, a cardiologist at Emory University and a member of the American Heart Association, skipping rope significantly increases speed, flexibility and cardiovascular strength, without the joint stress caused by other, similarly beneficial activities, such as running (provided you’re wearing the proper shoes).
An intense workout in a simple package is what draws so many professional athletes to ropes skipping. “Some men think rope jumping is wimpy. It stems back to seeing little girls do it,” says Michael Olajide Jr., a middleweight boxing champion until a torn retina ended his career. “But jumping rope demands explosive power; arm, chest and leg strength; and a well-oiled cardiovascular system. Boxers do it to learn how to stay controlled at a level of extreme discomfort. And I don’t think you’ll find many men who call boxers wimpy.”
Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors, Jerry Rice, Hershel Walker, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler, George Foreman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kareem Abdul Jabbar – all skip rope, as do collegiate wrestlers and most professional wide receivers. Even  ever serious method actor Daniel Day Lewis has embraced skipping rope as a suitably torturous form of exercise.
It’s combination of muscle control and aerobic activity that makes rope jumping so effective. Most aerobic exercise happens when your body is somewhat loose. But for you to skip successfully, your body needs to stay rigid and disciplined. “Even though (jumping requires) minimal movement, your whole body is coordinated and semitense,” says Olajide, whose Aerojump classes (in which rapid, technical rope jumping is combined with push ups and sit ups) were once tested on the New York Jets. “Your muscles work faster, both in the upper and lower body. It’s very tight, very controlled. You get arm and leg definition quickly.” You also thrust your body into an anaerobic state – so keep your paper bags handy.
Rope work “tests every aspect of your physical game – strength, agility, speed, endurance,” says Olajide. “It can make you feel queasy and high simultaneously.” Like witnessing a bris, only you sweat more.
To avoid gasping like a hooked flounder, start by jumping for up to fifteen minutes a day, aiming for ninety revolutions per minute. Hop only once per revolution, to establish a rhythm and keep up your speed. Land on the balls on your feet. In the beginning, remember to take frequent breaks, walking around the room to keep moving. Otherwise you run the risk of cramped calves or cardiovascular meltdown. Once you’re swift enough to double Dutch with the neightborhood kids, add more time and speed-reaching up to 130 revolutions per minute. Feeling invicible? Add a set of push-ups or squats every three minutes.
Technique is critical. You’ll want to swing the rope close enough to nearly tap your feet, then jump so it slides smoothly underneath you.  Keep your arms taut and down by your hips. Your wrists are all that rotate – anything else and the rope will rise, snagging your feet like a seine net. Do not jump more than once per revolution. If you can, you’re moving the rope too slowly.
Buy either a leather or a nylon and plastic rope. Leather is traditional and has more heft, while nylon cuts a cleaner line and moves faster. Rope length also, ahem, matters. How long is too long? Stand on the middle. The ends of the rope should come up to your pecs. So if you’re six feet, you’ll want a nine and a half – to ten foot rope. Any longer and you’ll have too much cord to whip around (it’s not as much fun as it sounds). Any shorter and you’ll have to explain where you got those leather burns on your shins.
Just jumping up and down is only the shallow waters of it. It gets a lot deeper.

HANDS ON HELP FOR EAR INFECTIONS

Few years ago, two prominent medical groups – the Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians – issued new guidelines to doctors urging them to think twice before prescribing antibiotics fro children over 2 with ear infections. Instead, parents are asked to treat the pain with acetaminophen or ibuprofen and wait to see whether the infection clears up on its own.
Why the new recommendation? Doctors are trying to slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs. But parents can be forgiven for wanting to part with science when they have a crying, hurting toddler to contend with at 2 a.m. Fortunately, there’s an alternative.
If your child suffers from recurrent ear infections, a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) may be able to help. Doctors of osteopathy hold the same unrestricted license to practise medicine as medical doctors (M.D.), and they receive training in osteopathic manipulation.  In a multiyear study of 57 children who suffered from ear infections, those who received osteopathic manipulation experienced significantly fewer ear infections and were less likely to need antibiotics or surgery than children who received routine pediatric care. A larger study is now underway to confirm the results.
In a typical manipulation, an osteopathic physician palpates areas of the head, neck, and chest.  “We feel for areas that are tight, that the child says are sore, or where there is restriction of motion,” says lead study author Dr. Miriam V. Mills, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa.
The D.O. relieves pressure in the eustachian tube, the canal that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose. When restricted, the eustachian tube can allow bacteria to grow in the pea-size middle ear.  A manipulation lasts from 15 to 45 minutes. Not all osteopathic physicians, however, will take the time to do an adjustment.

THE MELATONIN MIRACLE – THE SIMPLE WAy To COPE JET LAG

Time zone traveller who suffer from jetlag can now reset their biological clock by topping up doses of a naturally-produced sleep hormone that is now available in pill form and has been hailed as the Melatonin Miracle.
It has been touted as a wonder product that can treat everything from insomnia and osteoporosis to Parkinson’s Disease and cancer while combating ageing and boosting your sex drive all at the same time.  While the initial melatonin mania has been tempered by the fact that not all these claims have been conclusively proved scientifically, research into its use in counteracting jet lag suggests that long haul business travellers of the future will not want to leave home without a little bottle of melatonin tablets in their soap bag to help them cope with that morning-after-the-time-zone-before feeling.
In fact, melatonin is not a drug, which makes it so much more acceptable than other types of sleeping pill. In its natural form it is produced by the pineal gland at the base of the brain and is believed to play a vital part in inducing sleep.  Its level are light regulated with more being produced during hours of darkness and less in daylight.  Small top-up doses have been shown in laboratory tests to accelerate the onset of sleep without harmful side effects or the withdrawal systems of drowsiness, memory loss and performance problems that often result from taking other synthetic types of sleeping pill, making melatonin ideal for the business traveller who needs to hit the ground running.
RESETTING THE BODY CLOCK.
For years, jet lag was considered a state of mind but studies have shown that the condition actually results from an imbalance in the body’s natural biological clock caused by travelling to different time zones.  This is because the body works on a 24 hour cycle called the circadian rhythm, measured by the distinct rise and fall of body temperature and levels of certain hormones, melatonin being one of them. All of these are influenced by exposure to sunlight and help determine when people sleep and wake.
When travelling to a different time zone, the circadian rhythm is slow to adjust from home time to new time and remains on its original setting for several days so that the body is often preparing to shut down for sleep in the afternoon and firing on all cylinders in the middle of the night.  In addition, the higher the altitude, the greater the sleep disturbance, believed to be caused by diminished oxygen levels and accompanying changes in respiration.
A recent survey by America’s National Sleep Foundation found that about 50 percent of all business travellers experience jet lag and say their performance and productivity are negatively affected. The problem appears to be worse for women than for men and for older people rather than younger. The body’s natural production of melatonin reduces with age which is why scientists believe older people have more difficulty sleeping in general.  In a study of people over the age of 65, all reported more sleep and better next-day alertness after two weeks of melatonin use.  Melatonin can also help against two other common travel-related stress conditions known as the First Night Effect – trying to sleep in a new or unfamiliar environment – and the On-Call Effect, caused by the worry of being awoken by something – the phone or other disturbances.
Because it is a naturally secreted hormone, melatonin is not a controlled drug and can be bought over the counter at pharmacies and health stores.  However in most cases, such as with Millenium Melatonin, supplied by the Andorra-based Farmacia Meritxell, specialists in the importation of the very latest pharmaceuticals from America and Europe, the pill form is constituted from synthesised vegetable proteins rather than animal proteins.  This is for the obvious reason that the animal version could contain viruses which are harmful to the human immune system such as CJD.  The synthetic form has exactly the same mollecular structure as naturally produced melatonin in humans.
For imsomnia, manufacturers recommend that melatonin should only be taken at night, around 30 minutes before going to bed.  Long haul air travellers can, if they like, take a pill in low dose form before boarding the aircraft and, on arrival at their destination, a 3 mg pill before going to bed.
Melatonin may have many other benefits. As well as further research into its potency in regulating other types of sleep disorder such as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, common in adolescents who can only fall asleep late at night or early in the morning, tests are now underway to determine its effectiveness as an antioxidant and a weapon against cancer.
Meanwhile, in experiments with laboratory mice, those given melatonin were found to have a life expectancy 20 percent greater than the control mice. This is thought to be because melatonin may reduce the damage caused to the body by free radicals, stimulate the immune system and protect the cardiovascular system by maintaining a youthful rhythm. Experiments on mice have also shown that melatonin boosts levels of testosterone and so may be able to prolong the sex life.  Who knows, perhaps one day it will be proved that melatonin really is a ready made miracle produced by man himself – his own centuries-old well-kept secret of eternal youth.
FIVE TIPS FOR AVOIDING JET LAG.
- Try to select a flight arriving early in the evening and stay up until 10pm local time. If you must take a daytime nap, make it no longer than two hours.
- Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip or later for a westward trip.
- Always change your watch to the destination time zone on boarding the plane
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals three to four hours before bed time (or forever not consume alcohol) as they are stimulants.
- Get out into the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful tool for regulating the biological clock while staying indoors prolongs jet lag.

SHOULDERING THE PAIN – COMMON SHOULDER INJURIES

– The rotator cuff region is a common area of injury for many athletes…
In sports, the shoulder girdle is a common site of injury. In fact, it is second only to the knee as a chronic site of prolonged disability. A serious shoulder injury can be highly debilitating and can easily ruin a promising sports career. Today, I will discuss the basic anatomy of the shoulder joint, describe some of the most common shoulder joint injuries and outline a plan for the management of shoulder injuries.
The shoulder girdle is comprised of four joints: gleno-humerol; acromio-clavicular (A-C joint); sterno-clavicular; and scapulo-thoracic. Each of these joints are supported by various ligaments and muscles which help to stabilize the region. Stability of the shoulder is derived entirely from these soft-tissue and joint structures, there is less stability in comparison to other joints in the body.
Consequently, the shoulder joint is more vulnerable to various injuries.
The soft-tissue structures which afford the shoulder region tremendous range of motion and strength are the rotator cuff muscles.  The rotator cuff region is comprised of the following five muscles: supraspinatus; infraspinatus; teres minor; sub-scapularis; and teres major. The rotator cuff muscles blend together to form a common tendon called the rotator cuff tendon. The rotator cuff region is a common area of injury for many athletes (from performing military and bench presses, for instance).
There have been found that the most common sources of shoulder pain are the result of three things: (1) shoulder tendinitis; (2) shoulder impingement syndrome; and (3) cervical subluxation complex with radiculitis.
Shoulder tendinitis is characterized by pain on the lateral aspect of the shoulder. This can then refer pain to the elbow as well. A person can feel sharp twinges of pain with various movements such as putting on a coat jacket or reaching for something above the shoulder level. The onset of pain is gradual, usually over the course of a few weeks to months.
Shoulder impingement syndrome is characterized by pain on abduction (raising the arm from the side) above 90 degrees. The rotator cuff is “impinged” or pinched in the roof of the shoulder girdle (acromion process). An individual suffering from this ailment will have difficulty performing movements which require raising the arm above 90 degrees. Doing so will result in pain and weakness.
Finally, cervical subluxation results in a pain felt in the shoulder, upper arm and even elbow and forearm. This condition actually originates in the neck which then refers pain into the shoulder and arm region.  The condition is further characterized by misaligned vertebrae in the neck and/or abnormal movement patterns which irritate the nerves in the neck which then migrate to the shoulder and arm region.
Managing most shoulder injuries is as simple as rest and ice. Rest is essential for healing. In order for the body’s normal recuperative repair process to take over, you need to avoid those activities which cause pain.  Though the amount of time varies, as a rule of thumb, three to seven days should be sufficient to begin the repair process.
During this period of inactivity, ice should be applied to the shoulder region.  Three applications of thirty minutes each per day should be sufficient for the first two to four weeks. Ice packs will reduce inflamation, reduce pain and enhance the healing process.
In some cases, rest and ice will not be enough. If, over time, the shoulder pain does not diminish or grows worse, a professional should be consulted.  The best option is to see a chiropractor or osteopathic specialist. This specialist will be able to better diagnose the problem and offer a timely solution, whether in the form of treatment, an exercise regimen or both.

ANNOYING ACNE: GOT ACNE IN THE LATE 30 – IS IT NORMAL?

If you never had a zit as a teen, consider yourself lucky. Dr. Lawrence Schachner, a dermatologist in Miami says, “Between the ages of 9 and 17, almost the entire universe will have some acne.” Now that you’re beginning to experience something most people have dealt with earlier in life, don’t be alarmed. Schachner says that 10 percent of people in their thirties and forties suffer from this supposedly adolescent affliction.  In fact, some individuals over the age of 60 still experience acne outbreaks.
Since all pimples are not created equal, there are several possible reasons forthe appearance of the skin condition now. Dr. Robert Auerbach, a dermatologist in New York City, says that steroids have been known to cause acne, as have iodides and bromides, found in seaweed and kelp.  Another possible culprit is a medication such as lithium.
As for treatment, Schachner and Auerbach both say you should consult a dermatologist. Auerbach states that it’s important first to be sure what you’re seeing is acne. Even if you think you may be able to deal with your pimples by yourself, Auerbach bluntly states that “none of the at-home stuff works.” Although his opinion is not quietly fault, but many people in Indonesia region usually take some traditional treatment to deal with acne. Many people in Indonesia use wetted corn flour masker. Corn flour mixed with a little bit of mineral water or rose water then applied to the face or the acne area. Some other usually get used to clean and rub their face with “Sirih Merah” leaf (Piper betle L. var. Rubrum) that have been cleaned with water and then mashed until it can be easily applied as a masker on your face (skin area that full of acne). Other people also applied a masker made from mashed garlic mixed with mashed “Lidah Buaya” leaf (Aloe Vera). Please be careful that many Asian type of skin (Indonesian skin) rather different with many American and European…so, if you want to try, just try a little bit first. Many Indonesian also applied some traditional masker in order to scrub “bad skin and acne” – which is known as “Lulur”, and in order to make your facial or skin smooth as baby, many Indonesian usually use traditional masker known as “Mangir”. Those both Lulur and Mangir made from many herbs and have been proven as best traditional treatment ever since for hundreds of years ago.

BAKING SODA TOOTHPASTE – IS IT RECOMMENDED?

There once was a time when the only selling point for a toothpaste was that it contained fluoride. Today when you got to the drugstore, you’re confronted with tartar control, tooth whiteners and the choice of gel of paste, tube or pump, flip-cap or no flip-cap. Add to the variety the option of baking soda and you are right to feel a bit confused by the new ingredients and styles.
According to Chris Martin, a spokesman for the American Dental Association, “The ADA hasn’t seen any studies that show there are any therapeutic benefits” to brushing with a baking soda toothpaste. “But,” he quickly adds, “there are products with baking soda in them that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance.” Martin explains that while no proof exists that baking soda fights gum disease or tooth decay, it’s safe ingredient for your mouth. In fact, if a toothpaste does carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you’ll notice it makes no claims as to the oral-hygiene benefits of baking soda.
So why do people use baking soda toothpaste? Martin theorizes that “many people might like the way it their mouth. They feel as if their mouth is cleaner after brushing.” Also, there’s also history of using baking soda as a hygiene product, not just for oral health.  But if you’ve chosen baking soda because you think it is going to whiten, brighten or freshen your mouth, you’re mistaken.  Nothing yet has taken a bite out of fluoride’s dominance as the number-one toothpaste ingredient.

NUTRITION HEALING

“You are what you eat,” as the old saying goes.  If you eat smart, the food choices you make will keep you healthy, stave off disease and possibly even reverse illness. Unwise food decisions can cause an allergic response, put your body in a state of disrepair and leave you vulnerable to disease.
A DOSE OF NUTRICEUTICALS
Nobody likes to take medicine, but everybody loves to eat, so it’s encouraging to know that modern medical research is finally pointing to the same conclusion that folklore has touted for centuries: Many foods have medicinal properties.
Remember when your mother used to tell you to drink your milk so your bones would be strong? You never stopped to wonder why milk had such a magical effect on your bones. You just did what you were told and it worked.
Now scientific investigations by the government, various universities and the medical industry are under way to discover just what it is about certain foods that provides health benefits.  Recently, someone even came up with a fancy term – nutriceutical – to define “Any substance that may be considered a food or part of a food providing medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.” Nutriceuticals run the gamut from isolated nutrients to dietary supplements, herbal products, genetically engineered “designer” foods, and processed foods such as cereals.
One example of an isolated nutrient used to change the nutritive value of a food to combat disease is niacin (vitamin B3).  In the 1920s, pellagra, caused by a deficiency of niacin, was the leading cause of death in eight Southern states of USA. After only two years of fortifying the traditional diet of cornmeal with niacin, pellagra was virtually eliminated.
Another exciting, more recent medical finding is that folic acid, a widely available, water-soluble vitamin, can prevent spina bifida, a neural-tube birth defect. In 1993 an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that pregnant women’s intake of an over-the-counter multivitamin containing folic acid reduces the risk of this serious birth defect by 60%.  The latest good news about folic acid is that it may help prevent heart attacks.
Plain old chicken soup, a natural antihistamine, is a good example of a “feel better” food with nutriceutical properties. Commonly known as Jewish penicillin, this traditional remedy is as old as ancient times.
A daily cup of chicken collagen “soup” may also be just what the doctor ordered for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferers. A team led by rheumatologist David E. Trentham, MD, of Harvard Medical School fed 30 patients liquid doses of the homey-sounding nostrum daily.  After three months, all experienced a 25 – 30% reduction in joint pain and swelling.
LIST IS ENDLESS
Phytochemicals offer the same therapeutic dietary benefits as nutriceuticals, the difference being that phytochemicals are completely natural compounds found in plants, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, while nutriceuticals can also include vitamins and supplemental additives as well as foods.
Chris Beecher, PhD, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has cataloged 900 of these phytochemicals, including sterols (these from cucumbers) to enhance cholesterol excretion from the body, polyacetylenes (from parsley) to buffer a potent cancer-causing agent, quinones (from rosemary) to induce the body to produce detoxifying enzimes, and cancer-fighting ingredients such as indoles (found in the cabbage family) to deactivate estrogens.
Hundreds of other phytochemicals affect our health in various ways by protecting our DNA from being damaged, regulating our hormones, and triggering the release of various neurotransmitters (chemical messengers between nerves) that are critical to emotional well-being.
We all know that athletes or bodybuilders have special nutritional needs that aren’t met by the usual recommended nutrition values.  For starters, one study showed that weightlifters who train hard burn 21% more calories daily than a person who does not perform heavy work. That’s why athletes and bodybuilders can consume more food more often throughout the day than most people, they sometimes fail to eat the variety of foods needed for optimum health, growth and repair.  Supplements can help make up for some nutritional deficiencies, but they should be used mainly to augment the diet. In many cases, certain beneficial phytochemicals have yet to be extracted and packaged in pill form because they occur as complexes.  When the components of these complexes are isolated, they no longer produce the same benefits.
You must realize that vitamin pills and supplements are fine, but nutritional needs are best met with real food.
It wasn’t long ago that a salable food product was one that just looked, smelled and tasted good. But today, a health and wellness trend is in full swing that bodybuilders exemplify. As consumers, you are fortunate to be offered a broad spectrum of foods with outstanding taste, convenience, value and variety that also make you healthy.  Here are some of the delicious items that should be on everybody diet.
YAM AND SWEET POTATOES DIET
Yams and sweet potatoes as regular items in healthy diets, and for very good reason. Both are virtually fat free and excellent sources of complex carbs. Pumped up with more beta-carotene power than carrots, the delicious tuberous roots also carry the punch of vitamins C and E, making them one of nature’s most nutritious contributors of important cancer-fighting substances. Today, the most popular commercial birth-control pill in the world is derived from yams. Wild Mexican yam is also an important ingredient in a natural progesterone cream used to treat menopausal women.  Many researchers now believer that the progesterone derived from yams may aid in normal bone building in females – good news for women concerned about osteoporosis.
THE HEALTHY STINKING GARLIC
Garlic has been used since ancient times to treat all sorts of ailments, including dysentery during World War I. A member of the onion family, this herb contains lots of potassium, fluorine, sulfur, phosphorus and vitamins A and C. Garlic also contains the bioflavonoid quercetin, which has been found to block allergic and inflammatory reactions. Chemicals in garlic are also believed to protect the liver from damage caused by large doses of acetaminophen (found in certain painkillers and cold medications).
Even more good news: A study by the National Cancer Insitute showed that those with diets high in allium vegetables, such as onion and garlic, suffer fewer incidences of stomach cancer. Both contain sulfides, which probably explains their actions as strong disinfectants.
SEAFOOD
Seafood (especially oysters) contains immune-boosting zinc, another important trace mineral for body health. Zinc is vital for growth and development of muscle tissue, bone and sexual organs. Touted as an aphrodisiac for years (“oysters down it Oysters Bay do it”), these tasty mollusks are really a treat.  For the less adventurous, other food sources of zinc are organ and red meats, whole wheat and rye, seeds and nuts, peas, carrots, green beans and potatoes. Fish wins again with sardines packing the biggest punch of coenzyme Q10 (or ubiquinone) – a vitaminlike substance that resembles vitamin E. An antioxidant, coenzyme Q10 declines with age and should be supplemented in the diet because it plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the immune system and in slowing the aging process. Administration of coenzyme Q10 for 12 weeks to heart patients significantly increased their hearts ability to pump, reduced shortness of breath, and increased muscle strength, an improvement that should be of special interest to the athletes and sportmen.  Coenzyme Q10 protects the stomach lining and may help heal duodenal ulcers. It has the ability to counter histamine and is valuable to allergy and asthma sufferers.
IRON
Beans are rich in iron and should be one of the mainstays in any athletes diet. Iron is an important part of the compounds necessary for transporting oxygen to the cells and making use of oxygen when it arrives. Significant amounts of iron can leave the body through a loss of blood – the reason women of childbearing age have the greatest need for dietary iron, especially if they exercise.  Iron deficiency anemia causes a general lack of energy and a tendency toward fatigue.  Because of their extra needs, women need to boost their hemoglobin by making sure they eat foods that are good sources of iron like eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy, vegetables, whole grains, enriched breads and cereals, almonds, avocados, beets, blackstrap molasses, parsley, peaches, pears, pumpkins, raisins, rice, soybeans, and of course, lentils.
CALCIUM FOR BONES
Dairy products, including parmesan cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, skimmed milk, and plain, low-fat or nonfat yogurt are good sources of calcium.  Athletes and even you need this important player for strong bones and teeth.  Calcium is also important in the fight against heart disease. It maintains regular heartbeat and the transmission of nerve impulses, is essential in blood clotting, helps prevent colon cancer, and prevents bone loss associated with osteoporosis. This important mineral is also needed for muscle growth and contraction and for the prevention of muscle cramps. Calcium provides energy and participates in the protein structuring of RNA and DNA. Other good food sources are salmon, sardines, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, blackstrap, molasses, brewer’s yeast, tofu, collards, kale, kelp and mustard greens, almonds and prunes.
THE AVE VITAMIN FOODS
Vitamin A, C, and E are all important antioxidants. Foods containing these vitamins should be an important part of everybody daily menu plan. Vitamin C helps prevent heart disease and cancer and builds immunities against infections, including the common cold. It aids would healing, helps the body release energy from carbohydrates during metabolism and also plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the nervous system. Good vitamin C food sources are citrus fruits, red and green bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, honeydew melon, broccoli, brussels sprouts, parsley, and red cabbage. Vitamin E is needed for a healthy heart and skeletal muscles. It helps form red blood cells and protects against heart disease and cancer. It may also be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis and certain skin problems. Good food sources of Vitamin E are wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, peaches and prunes.  Vitamin A is involved in the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, hair and mucous membrane. It’s necessary for proper bone growth, tooth development, and reproduction. It may help prevent certain cancers and be useful agains problems of skin aging. Beta-carotene, its precursor, is under study as a nutriceutical to ward off cancer and heart disease and to delay cataracts.  Good food sources of vitamin A are pumpkin, carrots, spinach, winter squash, red bell pepper, red chili pepper, apricots, broccoli, egg yolk and liver.
FIBER FOR YOUR HEALTH
Fiber not only helps fill you up but helps prevent cancer, heart disease and other ailments. Fibers are generally classified by whether they dissolve in water. Insoluble fibers (once called roughage) pass through the digestive tract without being absorbed and have an intestinal cleansing action, keeping the digestive tract clean. They take with them many toxic substances, lessening the time such substances remain in contact with the intestine.
Soluble fibers (such as pectin) aid in digesting and absorbing foods. Combined with a low-fat diet, they may help lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables, whole grain and wheat, corn and rice bran. soluble fiber is found mainly in oats and barley, citrus fruits and oat bran. Dried beans and other legumes have both types of fiber.
HEALTHY COOKING
Unless you eat it raw, it does matter how you slice it…or at least how you cook it. Different home-cooking methods can affect both the nutritional value and taste of meat and vegetables.
- Avoid overcooking vegetables. They should be steamed over water, not boiled in water, until tender/crisp. Test with the point of a knife for doneness.
- Try a chicken stir-fry with vegetables and tender strips of chicken cooked together quickly in a wok.
- Avoid charcoal-grilled meats because they are potentially carcinogenic.
- Quickly stir frying beef strips retains more of beef’s essential nutrients than oven broilling and barbecuing. Stir-frying also brings out more of the beef’s flavor.
- Avoid undercooking poultry. Chicken should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 82 degrees Celcius so that the juices run clear an the meat is no longer pink.
- When stir-frying, use pan or some other cooking spray or a quality, nonstick wok or skillet.
- Contrary to popular belief, some vegetables, like carrots, are more nutritious (and tastier) after they’ve been steamed. The cooking process breaks down cellulose fibers, releasing the nutrients.

TOP 25 HEALING FOODS
Garlic, soybeans, yams/sweet potatoes, kiwi, bananas, beans (dry and green), broccoli, tuna (water-packed), turkey (skinless breast), oat bran, potatoes (baked), bell peppers (red and green), carrots, papaya, cantaloupe, rice (brown), greens (spinach, kale, turnip greens, swiss chard, curly endive), onions, yogurt (nonfat), apricots, garbanzos, oranges, lamb, pasta (whole-wheat), tomatoes.

25 FOODS TO AVOID
Soft cheeses, ice cream, peanuts (salted/roasted), fried or pickled eggs, alcohol, bacon, processed lunch meats, pork, gravies, saturated fat, canned soups, white, brown or raw sugar, white rice, processed/sweetened oatmeal/cereals, canned, bottled or frozen fruit with sweeteners, yogurt with fruit/syrup, tuna (canned in oil), vegetables (canned or frozen with salt or additives), anchovies, soft drinks, chocolate, white vinegar, processed-cheese products, white-flour products, and fried foods.

DIET FOR BODYBUILDERS

“Eat more fat!” It sounds like anathema to our bodybuilding lifestyle, but that’s what Mauro Di Pasquale, MD, advises to help shift the body into a more anabolic mode.  His approach is far too experimental for us to advocate, especially with our concerns involving dietary fat and health.  So we’re not endorsing this program, just presenting it to keep you readers informed about hot topics in the bodybuilding community. We will say, at least, that high-carb diets aren’t best for everyone, and that bodybuilders should be sure to get adequate protein and the right kinds of fats in their diets.  Stay tuned for continuing updates on the high-fat diet programs.
The high-carbohydrate diet, long considered the athlete’s best friend, may not be ideal for everyone.  Though performance in some sports is arguably linked to consumption of high-carbohydrate meals, success in bodybuilding may well be an exception.  Today, more and more athletes are experimenting with fat-based diets,both precontest and off-season, to achieve muscular and strength gains.
Exercise is the most potent catabolic and anabolic agent known, but it’s not the only one.  By maximizing the other factors, you can attain your bodybuilding goals more quickly.
Diet, however, is where a great deal of debate today centers. The high-carbohydrate/medium-protein/low-fat diet remains the most common and specialized diet for the bodybuilder.  This diet has a number of advantages: It’s easy to understand and simple to initiate, and it’s relatively inexpensive.  The chief disadvantage: It may not be the best bodybuilding diet.  Let me repeat: The popular high-carb diet that most bodybuilders follow is not the optimal nutrition plan.
DIETARY FAT & THE BODYBUILDER
In my opinion, the best bodybuilding diet is the high-fat/high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet.  This diet creates a hormonal environment in the body that is conducive to putting on muscle mass. In the high-fat diet, testosterone and growht hormone are naturally stimulated, while insulin, which can run wild in a high-carb diet and promote greater bodyfat, is controlled.  The high-carb diet can also slow down muscular growth – or even tear down muscle tissue – especially during precontest dieting in which the aim is to eliminate all subcutaneous bodyfat. In my opinion, the high-fat diet limits the accumulation of bodyfat while maximizing muscle gain by increasing anabolic drive (hormone production) and protecting muscle protein.  That’s why I call the high-fat/high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet the Anabolic Diet.
In the anabolic diet, you go through a kind of metabolic shift where your body begins to burn free fatty acids and stored bodyfat for energy.  When carbohydrates make up the bulk of your diet, you instead burn glucose for energy.  Insulin secreted by the pancreas turns whatever glucose is not used for energy or stored in the liver or muscles into triglycerides to be stored as bodyfat.
Insulin (released in response to high-carb diets) activates the lipogenic (fat-producing) enzymes in the body while decreasing the activity of the lipolytic (fat-burning) enzymes.  The exact opposite occurs with the high-fat diet.  With limited amounts of glucose and glycogen in the body, you’re burning fat as your primary fuel and sparing precious muscle protein for energy.  Once immediate energy stores are exhausted, you burn off bodyfat for energy as needed.
Many experience on bodybuilders with the anabolic diet has also shown that they don’t suffer the mood swings and fluctuations in strength levels common to those on high-carb diets.  Consuming a large amount of protein, often hard to do on a high-carb diet, is not nearly as difficult on the anabolic diet because protein-rich red meat is eaten in abundance.  And those extreme swings in body weight common on the high-carb diet are limited on the fat-burning anabolic diet.
On the high-carb diet, you may find yourself not gaining any lean body mass from one attempt at cutting to another.  Bodybuilders who’ve been on the same carb-based diet for five years find they haven’t gained 5 pounds.  With the anabolic diet, where bodyfat is limited and lean mass naturally hormonally stimulated, some bodybuilders can make gains of 5-15 pounds a year.  Meanwhile, you’ll be just as defined, if not more so, than you were previously.
The anabolic diet may be a bit more expensive than the carbobased diet because of its reliance on meat an dairy products.  Bodybuilders on a tight budget may find this a limiting factor.  Likewise, if you find that a dietary change prompts significant stress, you may want to reconsider changing you diet.
Based on what I’ve found, the anabolic diet will get you more muscle with less accumulation of bodyfat quicker than dietary alternatives.  If you’re serious about bodybuilding, you will want to carefully consider the options.
SAMPLE STARTER DIETS
In the anabolic diet, I describe sample eating plans that give you an idea of how a fat-based diet works.  The sample meal plan is based on a 3000 calorie diet (which can be adjusted upward or downward depending on bulking-up or cutting-up phases and your individual needs). The diet consists of 33% of calories from protein, 66% from fat and just 1% from carbohydrates during the week (Monday through Friday), and 19% protein / 20% fat / 61% carbs during the weekend carb loading.  This introductory diet is more pronounced in terms of fat and carb percentages as a way of speeding up the “metabolic shift” you’ll be going throughon your way to setting up a “fat burning” metabolism.  Long-term, the diet is less extreme.
Use the information provided in these charts to customize your diet at various caloric levels. Just ensure that you limit your intake of carbohydrates to 30 grams each day during the week.
A few reminders:
- Watch for hidden carbohydrates such as found in ketchup, nuts, BBQ sauce, dressings, etc. Read those labels!
- When eggs are mentioned, use the whole egg, not just the whites.
- Weigh food. Ounces are important in the caloric breakdown of the diet.
- Breaded meats, like fried chicken and fish sticks, are loaded with carbs.  Allow for this when you eat them.
- Try to drink only coffee, tea, sugar-free soft drinks and water during the weekdays.
- Check labels to get breads that are the lowest in the carbs.
- These diet are stricter than the diets you’ll generally be on as a way of aiding the “metabolic shift” and lopolytic properties  of the diet.  Usual diet operating parameters are:
Weekdays: 55-60% calories from fat, 30-35% from protein, 5-8% from carbohydrates.
Weekend Carb loading: 30-40% calories from fat, 10-15% from protein, 45-60% from carbohydrates.
- Always check carb grams, as the total carb intake for any given weekday shouldn’t be more than 30 grams.

SAMPLE 3000 CALORIE STARTER DIET (WEEKEND)

Breakfast
3 pancakes (no butter, lite syrup) 314 calories
1 banana                           105 calories

Snack
6 graham crackers                  480 calories
1 cup fruit juice                  100 calories

Lunch
1/2 cup steamed rice               246 calories
10 oz Hormel Chili Beans           260 calories
2 pieces bread with butter         140 calories

Snack
1 bagel with jelly (no butter)     221 calories

Dinner
1 Turkey sandwich                  200 calories
2 slices wheat bread, 1 oz Turkey, 1 tbsp Lite Mayo, Mustard, Lettuce

2 cups Yams in Lite syrup          440 calories
1 cup canned corn                  160 calories

Snack
1 Cake (large slice)               260 calories
1 cup strawberries with 1 tbsp cool whip   66 calories

Total calories                     2992 calories

NB: Calories from: Carbohydrates 61%, protein, 19%, fat 20%

**************************************************

SAMPLE 3000 CALORIE STARTER DIET (WEEKDAY)

Breakfast
5     hard boiled eggs                385 calories
6 oz. smoke beef                      374 calories

Snack
1/2 cup cottage cheese                120 calories

Lunch
8 oz. corned beef                     320 calories
2 oz. cream cheese                    200 calories
1     breadstick                       41 calories

Snack
6 oz. jack cheese                     660 calories

Dinner
8 oz.    chicken                      538 calories
2 tbsp.  salsa                         16 calories
1       corn tortilla                  45 calories

Snack
1 oz.    pistachio nuts               164 calories
2 slices American cheese              220 calories

Total calories                       3083 calories
Calories from carbohydrates 1%, protein 33%, and fat 66%

—————————————————-

BREAKFAST BARS, IS IT GOOD FOR HEALTH?

Today, grabbing breakfast is easier than ever before. As you dash down the stairs with briefcase in hand, you grab the car keys and your breakfast – a prepackaged cereal bar. But does a bar take the place of a complete breakfast?
With almost a whole grocery aisle to choose from, nutritional value depends on which bar you choose. Some bars contain a good deal of fiber with little or no fat. Others include added vitamins and minerals. But, unfortunately, most more closely resemble candy bars and contain refined sugar and plenty of fat – hardly nominees for complete breakfast choices.
The perfect breakfast might include a high fiber source (like whole-grain cereal), skim milk and a piece of fruit. But on those days when you’re running late (and you know breakfast is your most important meal), you’re better off grabbing something than doing without. Go ahead and reach for that breakfast bar, just remember to choose a bar that includes at least 2 grams of fiber and no more than 3 grams of fat.
Before you buy, check the label carefully for sugars (some of which are hidden under names like high-fructose corn syrup, honey and brown sugar), which can quickly add empty calories with few nutrients. Also consider other made-for the-road options: bagels, nonfat muffins, bananas and other fruits.
ALUMINIUM AWARENESS
Most calcium supplements contain calcium citrate, which is recognized for its fast absoption and nonconstipating properties. A recent study at the university of Colorado Medical Center in Denver, however, shows that the use of calcium citrate increases the body’s absorption of aluminium. Ironically, raised aluminium levels are tied to bone loss and, possibly, to Alzheimer’s disease, though follow-up research is necessary.
The Colorado study looked at 30 healthy women ages 21-45 who supplemented with 800 mg of calcium (which contained calcium citrate) daily. After an average of 38 days, the amount of aluminium in the women’s blood and urine doubled.
Aluminium is not normally easily absorbed by the body, but calcium citrate opens pathways between cells so that aluminium can rapidly penetrate the body.
Don’t stress out just yet: More pieces to the puzzle are needed. What you can do now, however, is to take note of the aluminium you consume (rather than calcium citrate) whenever possible. Aluminium is found in pickles, nondairy creamers, some teas and antacids. The metal can also seep into food from aluminium pots and pans.

VITAMIN C FOR FERTILITY
Among its many roles, vitamin C is important in reproduction. As Health Media communications Nutrition Report notes, “Some studies have found that dietary treatment with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) has improved sperm quality.” For women, the vitamin is involved not only in ovum development but in pregnancy. “Large quantities of ascorbic acid are utilized during human conception and are necessary to maintain the integrity of fetal membranes,” says the scientific newsletter. “A daily supplement of 500 mg Vitamin C, early in pregnancy, might reduce birth defects.” Of course, women should check with their doctors about preconception and prenatal vitamins and should avoid overdosing. Another vitamin, folic acid, is already considered a preventive of certain developmental defects.

JUMP – How one rope and the right techniques can make for the toughest workout of your life

Gym teachers loved jump ropes because they were both cruel and cheap – even the fittest high school jock would belly over after a fast fifteen minutes. The same is true today. Far from being an effete workout, jumping rope, when done properly, is a ball-buster. Because it incorporates all of your muscles simultaneously, it’s more physically demanding than running, cycling or tennis.
According to various sports and medical journals, a steady jump provides the same aerobic activity as running at 5,7 mph. And, says Dr. Gerald Fletcher, a cardiologist at Emory University and a member of the American Heart Association, skipping rope significantly increases speed, flexibility and cardiovascular strength, without the joint stress caused by other, similarly beneficial activities, such as running (provided you’re wearing the proper shoes).
An intense workout in a simple package is what draws so many professional athletes to ropes skipping. “Some men think rope jumping is wimpy. It stems back to seeing little girls do it,” says Michael Olajide Jr., a middleweight boxing champion until a torn retina ended his career. “But jumping rope demands explosive power; arm, chest and leg strength; and a well-oiled cardiovascular system. Boxers do it to learn how to stay controlled at a level of extreme discomfort. And I don’t think you’ll find many men who call boxers wimpy.”
Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors, Jerry Rice, Hershel Walker, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler, George Foreman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kareem Abdul Jabbar – all skip rope, as do collegiate wrestlers and most professional wide receivers. Even  ever serious method actor Daniel Day Lewis has embraced skipping rope as a suitably torturous form of exercise.
It’s combination of muscle control and aerobic activity that makes rope jumping so effective. Most aerobic exercise happens when your body is somewhat loose. But for you to skip successfully, your body needs to stay rigid and disciplined. “Even though (jumping requires) minimal movement, your whole body is coordinated and semitense,” says Olajide, whose Aerojump classes (in which rapid, technical rope jumping is combined with push ups and sit ups) were once tested on the New York Jets. “Your muscles work faster, both in the upper and lower body. It’s very tight, very controlled. You get arm and leg definition quickly.” You also thrust your body into an anaerobic state – so keep your paper bags handy.
Rope work “tests every aspect of your physical game – strength, agility, speed, endurance,” says Olajide. “It can make you feel queasy and high simultaneously.” Like witnessing a bris, only you sweat more.
To avoid gasping like a hooked flounder, start by jumping for up to fifteen minutes a day, aiming for ninety revolutions per minute. Hop only once per revolution, to establish a rhythm and keep up your speed. Land on the balls on your feet. In the beginning, remember to take frequent breaks, walking around the room to keep moving. Otherwise you run the risk of cramped calves or cardiovascular meltdown. Once you’re swift enough to double Dutch with the neightborhood kids, add more time and speed-reaching up to 130 revolutions per minute. Feeling invicible? Add a set of push-ups or squats every three minutes.
Technique is critical. You’ll want to swing the rope close enough to nearly tap your feet, then jump so it slides smoothly underneath you.  Keep your arms taut and down by your hips. Your wrists are all that rotate – anything else and the rope will rise, snagging your feet like a seine net. Do not jump more than once per revolution. If you can, you’re moving the rope too slowly.
Buy either a leather or a nylon and plastic rope. Leather is traditional and has more heft, while nylon cuts a cleaner line and moves faster. Rope length also, ahem, matters. How long is too long? Stand on the middle. The ends of the rope should come up to your pecs. So if you’re six feet, you’ll want a nine and a half – to ten foot rope. Any longer and you’ll have too much cord to whip around (it’s not as much fun as it sounds). Any shorter and you’ll have to explain where you got those leather burns on your shins.
Just jumping up and down is only the shallow waters of it. It gets a lot deeper.

10 Tanggapan so far »

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