A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

How I Reduced my Total Cholesterol by 61 Points in Three Months

In April I became eligible for Medicare, which provides for a number of diagnostic services. I chose an internist / geriatrician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as my new primary care physician, and went to him for the allowed checkup and to order the tests. The blood test he gave me showed that my cholesterol level was high—the total cholesterol level was 252.

Rather than ask for prescription medication, I told my doctor that I would begin an exercise, diet, and food supplement regimen to bring it down below 200. Three months later, yesterday, I had my blood tested at an Osco pharmacy, and it was 191.

Here’s how I did it.

Exercise had been a hit or miss proposition for me, but I decided to dedicate a definite amount of time for it every day.

Oatmeal. I began to eat oatmeal for breakfast several times a week.

Hummus. Legumes like the beans that form the basis of hummus are known to bring cholesterol levels down. When I told my doctor I’d start to eat more hummus, he suggested that I try the Israeli type, rather than the Greek. I found a brand called Tribe at my local grocery store, and I like it very much. It’s much lighter than the Greek version. At first, I was spreading it on flatbread, but I recently discovered that it tastes especially good on celery.

Fish oil. I was already taking a fish oil supplement, a 1,200 mg capsule once a day.

Red yeast rice. I read that red yeast rice contains natural statins, and began to take 600 mg twice a day. The synthetic versions of statins are the basis of prescription medications for bringing cholesterol down.

Red meat. We had been reducing our red meat intake over the years, but I made a commitment to reduce mine even further.

After a month and a half, I had my blood tested at my closest Osco pharmacy. The machines that do the testing are right in the store, so the feedback is immediate. And the cost is only $30. Medicare doesn’t cover it, but I think it’s worth the cost to know how well I’m doing. The result this time was 228, so I knew I had to do more.

Oatmeal. I began to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day, and I have berries with it every few days. I’d have them every day, but they’re too expensive, even when you buy them frozen. This summer I’ve been buying them on sale and freezing them, so I should have a supply that will last through the winter.

Red yeast rice. I doubled the dosage of red yeast rice—to 1,200 mg twice a day. I was a bit unnerved when I noticed that my stool had become reddish colored, but it apparently isn’t harmful.

Fish oil. I quadrupled the amount of fish oil I was taking, to 2,400 mg twice a day. I plan to change to krill oil when I run out of the supply I have, since I read about the other benefits it provides.

Lecithin. I started taking 1,200 mg of lecithin once a day.

Skim milk. I love milk. Years ago, we changed from whole milk to 2%, but I realized that I’d have to switch to skim. Which I did.

Salad. I started eating a salad evey day, with spinach as the main ingredient, but including grated carrot and, when they’re on sale, avocados. We make our own dressing with olive and canola oils.

Almonds. I started eating a palmful (maybe 10) almonds per day.

FYI, I buy my food supplements online, where they’re cheaper than in stores, from a reputable manufacturer.

Yesterday’s test result was most gratifying. I feel more in control of my life and my health than ever before. My triglyceride level is still too high, but bringing that down will be the next step of the process.

And I’ve lost ten pounds over that same three months. Without being hungry, which means there’s a chance I won’t put the weight back on.

I’m really proud of myself!

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

10 Health Habits That Will Help You Live to 100

(U.S. News & World Report) [R]esearchers have discovered that centenarians tend to share certain traits in how they eat, move about, and deal with stress—the sorts of things we can emulate to improve our own aging process…

1. Don't retire. "Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement," says Luigi Ferrucci, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging…

2. Floss every day. That may help keep your arteries healthy…

3. Move around. "Exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists," says Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago

4. Eat a fiber-rich cereal for breakfast. Getting a serving of whole-grains, especially in the morning, appears to help older folks maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, according to a recent study conducted by Ferrucci and his colleagues…

5. Get at least six hours of shut-eye. Instead of skimping on sleep to add more hours to your day, get more to add years to your life…

6. Consume whole foods, not supplements. Strong evidence suggests that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients—selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E—age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Unfortunately, there's no evidence that taking pills with these nutrients provides those antiaging benefits… [*]

7. Be less neurotic… Yoga, exercise, meditation, tai chi, or just deep breathing for a few moments are all good. Ruminating, eating chips in front of the TV, binge drinking? Bad, very bad.

8. Live like a Seventh Day Adventist… One of the basic tenets of the religion is that it's important to cherish the body that's on loan from God, which means no smoking, alcohol abuse, or overindulging in sweets. Followers typically stick to a vegetarian diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, and get plenty of exercise. They're also very focused on family and community.

9. Be a creature of habit. Centenarians tend to live by strict routines, says Olshansky, eating the same kind of diet and doing the same kinds of activities their whole lives…

10. Stay connected. Having regular social contacts with friends and loved ones is key to avoiding depression, which can lead to premature death, something that's particularly prevalent in elderly widows and widowers. Some psychologists even think that one of the biggest benefits elderly folks get from exercise the strong social interactions that come from walking with a buddy or taking a group exercise class.

Read more.

Community: One of the purposes of this blog is to provide the opportunity for social contacts right here. You can help build it by commenting on the posts and inviting your friends to respond.

*We get more evidence every day of the efficacy of some food supplements.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Researchers Redefine Cura Personalis -- Caring For The Whole Person -- Using Systems Medicine

(Science Daily) At a time when medicine tends to focus on patients as a "collection of visceral organs and a nervous system," systems medicine provides a new approach to medical practice that is "anticipated to result in more comprehensive and systematic patient care."

In a commentary published [Friday] in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Sept 2), Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, and Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, associate dean at the Georgetown University Law Center ask, "Is there a future for systems medicine" particularly as the country considers a health care overhaul?

Federoff and Gostin define systems medicine as a holistic approach to a patient's care that incorporates the basic tenets of evidence-based medicine along with the interactions between all components of health and disease including human genetics, environment and behavior.

"The progressive shift toward prevention mandates a different economic model and a repositioning of individual and clinician responsibility for wellness," the authors write.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Aspirin Misuse May Have Made 1918 Flu Pandemic Worse

(Science Daily) The devastation of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic is well known, but a new article suggests a surprising factor in the high death toll: the misuse of aspirin. Appearing in the November 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseasesand available online now, the article sounds a cautionary note as present day concerns about the novel H1N1 virus run high.

High aspirin dosing levels used to treat patients during the 1918-1919 pandemic are now known to cause, in some cases, toxicity and a dangerous build up of fluid in the lungs, which may have contributed to the incidence and severity of symptoms, bacterial infections, and mortality. Additionally, autopsy reports from 1918 are consistent with what we know today about the dangers of aspirin toxicity, as well as the expected viral causes of death.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Over 65? Take lots of vitamin D to prevent a fall

(Reuters Health) Important news for seniors: A daily dose of vitamin D cuts your risk of falling substantially, researchers reported today.

But not just any dose will do. "It takes 700 to 1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day and nothing less will work," Dr. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, who directs the Center on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

Those recommendations - which are higher than those by the U.S. Institute of Medicine -- are based on the results of eight studies that looked at vitamin D supplements for fall prevention among more than 2,400 adults aged 65 and older. Falls were not notably reduced with daily doses of vitamin D lower than 700 IU.

An analysis of all eight studies … add weight to several others which have shown that vitamin D improves strength and balance, and bone health in the elderly, the researchers note.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Improves Memory

(Science Daily) Good news for procrastinating students: a nasal spray developed by a team of German scientists promises to give late night cram sessions a major boost, if a good night's sleep follows. In a research report…, these scientists show that a molecule from the body's immune system (interleukin-6) when administered through the nose helps the brain retain emotional and procedural memories during REM sleep…

"If a nasal spray can improve memory, perhaps we're on our way to giving some folks a whiff of common sense, such as accepting the realities of evolution," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

At-home care compares well with hospitals

(UPI) At-home care may be an alternative for aged patients with suddenly worsening heart failure, Italian medical researchers say.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells

(Science Daily) A powerful fish-killing toxin could have cancer-killing properties as well, according to collaborative research led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Paul V. Zimba and chemist Peter Moeller of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The toxin, called euglenophycin, has a molecular structure similar to that of solenopsin, an alkaloid from fire ant venom known to inhibit tumor development.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

'Natural Killer' Cells Keep Immune System In Balance

(Science Daily) Researchers from Brown University and McGill University have discovered that the natural killer, or NK cells, help prevent T cells from over-responding when a virus hits. This balance helps prevent T cells, which ordinarily serve the immune system, from causing harm…

The discovery … could someday be used to help treat patients with compromised immune systems. Managing NK cell production might help stabilize the immune systems of people with HIV or keep patients from rejecting bone marrow or organ transplants.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Retinal Rescue: Cells Derived From Human Embryonic Stem Cells Reverse Retinal Degeneration

(Science Daily) A new study reports that transplanted pigment-containing visual cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) successfully preserved structure and function of the specialized light-sensitive lining of the eye (known as the retina) in an animal model of retinal degeneration.

The findings, published by Cell Press in the October 2nd issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, represent an exciting step towards the future use of cell replacement therapies to treat devastating degenerative eye diseases that cause millions of people worldwide to lose their sight.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Umbilical Cord Blood As A Readily Available Source For Off-the-shelf, Patient-specific Stem Cells

(Science Daily) Human umbilical cord blood cells may be far more versatile than previous research has indicated. Scientists report that they have successfully reprogrammed human umbilical cord blood cells into cells with properties similar to human embryonic stem cells. The results are significant as they identify cord blood as a convenient source for generating cells with a theoretically limitless potential.

Umbilical cord blood cells can successfully be reprogrammed to function like embryonic stem cells, setting the basis for the creation of a comprehensive bank of tissue-matched, cord blood-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for off-the-shelf applications, report researchers.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Most babies born this century will live to 100

(AP) Most babies born in rich countries this century will eventually make it to their 100th birthday, new research says. Danish experts say that since the 20th century, people in developed countries are living aboutthree decades longer than in the past. Surprisingly, the trend shows little sign of slowing down.

In an article published Friday in the medical journal Lancet, the researchers write that the process of aging may be "modifiable." [Emphasis added.]

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

'Anti-Atkins' Low Protein Diet Extends Lifespan In Flies

(Science Daily) Flies fed an "anti-Atkins" low protein diet live longer because their mitochondria function better. The research, done at the Buck Institute for Age Research, shows that the molecular mechanisms responsible for the lifespan extension in the flies have important implications for human aging and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer…

The research calls into question the health benefits of high-protein diets which are often used by humans to lose weight [Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, lead author of the study] said. The long-term impacts of such diets have not been examined in humans; they are likely to be harmful, he said. "In flies, we see that the long-lived diet is a low protein diet and what we have found here is a mechanism for how that may be working," Kapahi said.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Eat Soybeans To Prevent Diseases, New Research Suggests

(Science Daily) Soybeans contain high levels of several health-beneficial compounds including tocopherols, which have antioxidant properties. These molecules can be used in the development of functional foods, which have specific health-beneficial properties and can be used in the treatment or prevention of diseases.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Why Outdoor Workouts Work Better

(RealAge.com) Pounding away on a treadmill under fluorescent lights in a stuffy gym couldn't sound any less appealing. Until now. This workout choice may be holding your health back.

That's what exercise guru Tina Vindum, author of Outdoor Fitness, believes. In her book, she references several studies that suggest exercising in a natural environment is better for your mood and your health.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Burn More Fat with This Wonder Breakfast

(RealAge.com) Your workouts might melt even more body fat if you eat this at breakfast: whole-grain cereal.

Why? A small study suggests that eating healthy carbs in the morning may turbocharge your fat-burning furnaces when you exercise later on in the day…

The winning breakfast? Muesli, fresh fruit, skim milk, and low-fat yogurt.

Seems when you eat high-fiber carbs, you store fewer carbs as a fuel source, forcing your body to use fat for energy instead. Thus, the extra fat-burning boost during exercise. Two additional benefits experienced by the healthy carbs group: extra fat-burning during a post-breakfast rest period and greater feelings of fullness.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

RealAge Docs: Three Tiny Eat-Healthier Tweaks

(RealAge.com) Too much stuff in your kitchen (or hiding places…), like snacks on the counter or in the glove compartment, platters with enough food for a swim team, messes with your brain's ability to make smart choices. But healthy can be easy if you change your "kitchenscape"in these simple ways.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Alternative Medicine Cabinet: Ginger

(Well, New York Times) Ginger has long been recommended as a remedy for everything from arthritis to yeast infections, but no condition has been studied more in connection with ginger than nausea. Over the years, scientists have found in a variety of studies that it eases nausea and vomiting stemming from sea sickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy...

Most studies suggest that all it takes is about half a gram to one gram to be effective.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Oxidized Form Of A Common Vitamin May Bring Relief For Ulcerative Colitis

(Science Daily) A new research report … suggests that retinoic acid, the oxidized form of vitamin A, could be a beneficial treatment for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and other irritable bowel diseases. Specifically they found that retinoic acid helps suppress out-of-control inflammation, which is a hallmark of active ulcerative colitis.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol simultaneously can sharply reduce heart attacks and strokes

(Los Angeles Times) An inexpensive combination of a cholesterol-lowering drug and one to reduce blood pressure can reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes by as much as 60%, but getting patients to begin the regimen and then to stay on it is an extremely difficult task, Kaiser Permanente researchers reported…

The Kaiser team chose two generic drugs, cholesterol-lowering lovastatin and blood-pressure-reducing lisinopril, and offered them to 170,000 members of their managed care programs in Northern and Southern California who suffered from heart disease or diabetes…

Some 47,268 patients had what the team termed "low exposure" to the drugs, taking them less than half the time. Their risk of hospitalization for heart attack or stroke was lowered by 15 events per 1,000 person-years, and an estimated 726 events were prevented. An additional 21,292 patients had "high exposure" to the drugs, taking them more than half the time. Their risk was reduced by 26 events per 1,000 person-years, preventing an estimated 545 events.

"What was fairly amazing to me was that we got such a good drop in heart attack and strokes" despite the low adherence, [Dr. James] Dudl said. "The issue now is how to increase adherence."

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Older Women May Sleep Better Than Men

(HealthDay News) Older women sleep longer and better than older men, even though many women believe they have worse sleep, researchers in the Netherlands have found…

[T]he discrepancies between the women's self-reported and actual quality of sleep were partly explained by factors such as use of sleep medication. Women were more likely than men to use sleep medications (14.9 percent versus 6.1 percent). Both sleep medication use and depressive symptoms were related to significantly shorter self-reported sleep times, the study authors noted…

The researchers also noted that women may require more sleep than men, meaning the same amount of sleep may be adequate for men but not for women.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Alcoholism's Effect On Sleep Persists During Long Periods Of Sobriety

(Science Daily) A study … shows that long-term alcoholism affects sleep even after long periods of abstinence, and the pattern of this effect is similar in both men and women.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Higher Survival Rate Among Intoxicated Trauma Patients

(Science Daily) Trauma patients who were intoxicated before their injuries were more likely to survive than trauma patients who suffered similar injuries but were sober at the time, according to a study…

"This study is not encouraging the use of alcohol," said Christian de Virgilio, MD, LA BioMed's principal investigator for the study. "It is seeking to further explore earlier studies that had found alcohol may improve the body's response to severe injuries. If alcohol is proven to improve the body's response to traumatic injury, it could lead to treatments that help patients survive and recover more quickly."

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Half of addicts quit after 6 months of treatment

(AP) About half of heroin and crack cocaine addicts in England's treatment programs quit the drugs after six months, a new study says.

Experts warned, however, that the danger of relapse means permanently kicking the habit probably requires ongoing care. A senior U.S. White House official said the results validated England's approach to treating drug addicts and called for similar efforts to evaluate American drug addiction programs…

Experts said the results were encouraging, but drug addicts would likely need more than six months of care. "It is quite possible that many of those with a positive outcome experienced relapse," said Jeffrey Parsons, an addiction specialist at Hunter College in New York who was not linked to the research.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Surgical Deaths Linked to Handling of Complications

(HealthDay News) The way that a hospital handles the complications of surgery, not just the rate of those complications, determines the hospital's surgical death rate, a new study has found…

"Not much attention has been paid to the management of complications," [study co-author Dr. Justin B. Dimick] said. "That is where we should be looking."

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Oldest Skeleton in Human Family Tree Surprises Scientists

HealthDay News) New details about the oldest skeleton from the human family tree suggest that human evolution was much more complicated than ever imagined.

Fossil remains of "Ardi," a female member of the hominid species Ardipithecus ramidus who lived 4.4 million years ago, do not resemble a chimp, as was long supposed.

Instead, Ardi was a combination of the features of chimps, humans and other creatures…

The findings also suggest that chimps and gorillas have followed their own evolutionary path, quite separate from humans.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work

(HealthDay News) Workplace wellness programs are an effective way to reduce major risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, says a new American Heart Association policy statement…

"Research shows that companies can save anywhere from $3 to $15 for every $1 spent on health and wellness within 12 to 18 months of implementing a [workplace wellness] program," the statement's lead author, Mercedes Carnethon, … said in a news release from the heart association.

"Beyond cost savings and increased productivity, visionary employers are realizing the value of an employee's total health," she said. "An effective worksite wellness program can attract exceptional employees, enhance morale and reduce organizational conflict."

Read more.

Community: How about community wellness programs? They ought to work, too.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Doctor Visits Are Getting Short Shrift in Tight Economy

(HealthDay News) Because of recession-related financial problems, 36 percent of Americans have cut back on doctor visits, according to a new survey.

When asked which types of health visits they were reducing, 63 percent of the 1,000 adult respondents cited visits to a dentist, 59 percent said primary care physician visits and 52 percent said eye doctor appointments.

Just 8 percent said they were adhering to their regular health-care schedule.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Breast Cancer Death Rates Continue to Drop 2% Annually

(HealthDay News) Fewer women in the United States are dying from breast cancer, but disparities in death rates still exist between whites and blacks, a new report shows.

Deaths from breast cancer have dropped more than 2 percent each year since 1990. And in the past decade that decline in deaths has been shared by black, Hispanic and white women. But black women still have a 40 percent higher death rate from breast cancer than white women, according to the report.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recent, Vigorous Exercise Is Associated With Reduced Breast Cancer Risk

(Science Daily) Post-menopausal women who engage in moderate to vigorous exercise have a reduced risk of breast cancer…

Over 110,000 post menopausal women were asked to rate their level of physical activity at ages 15-18, 19-29, 35-39, and in the past 10 years. It was found, over 6.6 years of follow up, that women who engaged in more than 7 hours per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise for the last ten years were 16% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who were inactive.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Sexual Satisfaction May Lead to Greater Well-Being in Women

(HealthDay News) Women who are happy with their sex lives have higher well-being scores and more vitality than women who are sexually dissatisfied, Australian researchers say…

"We found that women who were sexually dissatisfied had lower well-being and lower vitality. This finding highlights the importance of addressing these areas as an essential part of women's health care, because women may be uncomfortable discussing these issues with their doctor," [study author Dr. Sonia] Davison said.

She added that the difficulty in interpreting the findings "is that it is impossible to determine if dissatisfied women had lower well-being because they were sexually dissatisfied, or if the reverse is true, such that women who started with lower well-being tended to secondarily have sexual dissatisfaction…"

More than 90 percent of the women in the study said their sexual activity involved a partner, and that sexual activity was initiated by the partner at least 50 percent of the time. This means that the sexual activity of the study participants may have been affected by partner presence/absence, partner health and sexual function -- factors that weren't addressed in the study, the researchers noted.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Drug Combo May Offer Best Relief for Nerve Pain

(HealthDay News) People with nerve pain respond better to a combination treatment using the anticonvulsant gabapentin and antidepressant nortriptyline than to treatment with either drug alone, according to Canadian researchers…

Nerve, or neuropathic, pain -- which affects 2 to 3 percent of the population -- is "initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system," according to a news release… Conditions that cause neuropathic pain include nerve problems in the spine, diabetes-related nerve damage and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is nerve pain caused by the varicella zoster virus that can follow an outbreak of shingles.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Study Finds Fish Won't Prevent Heart Failure

(HealthDay News) While eating fish does appear to help protect against heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease, a new Dutch study finds it doesn't seem to guard against the development of heart failure.

Heart failure is a degenerative condition, but with the right treatment and lifestyle people are living longer with it…

"We examined whether the intake of fish and its omega-3 fatty acids could protect against the development of heart failure in people who had no history of coronary heart disease," said lead researcher J. Marianne Geleijnse… "However, we found no association except for a possible protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids against heart failure in a subgroup with diabetes."

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Clues To Reversing Aging Of Human Muscle Discovered

(Science Daily) A study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has identified critical biochemical pathways linked to the aging of human muscle. By manipulating these pathways, the researchers were able to turn back the clock on old human muscle, restoring its ability to repair and rebuild itself…

"Our study shows that the ability of old human muscle to be maintained and repaired by muscle stem cells can be restored to youthful vigor given the right mix of biochemical signals," said Professor Irina Conboy, … head of the research team conducting the study. "This provides promising new targets for forestalling the debilitating muscle atrophy that accompanies aging, and perhaps other tissue degenerative disorders as well."

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Eating in America Still Unhealthy: CDC

(HealthDay News) Most Americans don't eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, says a U.S. government study released Tuesday. And no state has achieved national objectives for consumption of fruits and vegetables, it found.

The goal for the Healthy People 2010 program is to get at least 75 percent of Americans to eat the recommended two or more daily servings of fruit and for at least 50 percent of Americans to consume three or more daily servings of vegetables.

But surveys from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that only 33 percent of adults meet the fruit consumption target and only 27 percent eat the recommended amount of vegetables.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!

(HealthDay News) Despite 14 years of public education campaigns, only one-third of Americans know about national recommendations for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, and fewer than half meet that goal, a new study has found.

The lack of awareness is greatest among men, the unemployed and people born in the United States, the researchers said…

One reason why efforts to spread the message about physical activity are having limited success is the "highly generalized, saturating effect of media in the current environment," the authors wrote. "Through varied sources, many are bombarded with multiple physical activity and general health promotion 'recommendations' that may be challenging to differentiate."

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Plan your ideal walking workout

(Real Simple) Walking is a wonder exercise. Not only can it can help control weight, it also reduces the risk of developing diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. Walking bestows benefits to the brain too, by relieving stress and improving mood. Best of all, walking is free: You don't need fancy equipment or a gym membership to reap the benefits. Here's how to make every step count, no matter how often you hit the pavement.

Click here to read tips for three levels of walkers.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Obese Middle-Aged Women Face Unhealthy Future

(HealthDay News) If excess weight doesn't kill you by old age, it could make your life miserable in the form of chronic health problems and impaired mental fitness.

According to a new study, women who are obese in middle age are almost 80 percent more likely to have multiple health problems by the time they reach age 70.

"Those who gained weight [in adulthood] actually suffered reduced odds of healthy survival," said study author Dr. Qi Sun.

Read more.

Community: The prognosis is probably not much different for men.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Tip of the Week: A Solution for Mindless Emotional Eating

(Shrink Yourself) Do you eat mindlessly? Do you finish a bowl of ice-cream or a plate of food and feel like you barely even tasted it? Have you ever started eating a snack that you thought you were going to eat just one of, and then had just one more, and one more and then... If so, this tip is for you.

Despite consuming large quantities of food, many emotional eaters, barely enjoy what they’re eating. It becomes about quantity, not quality. Savoring Your Food is one of The 10 Healthy Habits that we teach you about in The Shrink Yourself Program. When you savor your food, you learn to taste and enjoy so much more. When you can do this, you don’t need nearly as much to be satisfied.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Best Bets at a Buffet or Cafeteria

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Whether you’re buying lunch at your office or school cafeteria, or trying to navigate through a buffet at a party or restaurant, arming yourself with smart strategies before you load up your tray will help you make the best food choices. Here are a few healthy eating tips to remember the next time you’re in a cafeteria or at a party buffet:

1. Choose the salad bar…

2. Embrace the choose-it-yourself stations…

3. Say no to hot and greasy…

4. Postpone dessert…

5. Ask for it, if you don’t see it.
If you'd like your chicken breast without the creamy sauce or you wish there were more broccoli on the salad bar, speak up!

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Foods That Help Control Cholesterol

(RealAge.com) Making smart food choices can help move your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol levels into healthy ranges. Your goal is to limit your intake of foods that can wreak havoc with your cholesterol levels and eat more of the foods that help reduce bad cholesterol or increase good cholesterol. Start making smart choices today with these heart-friendly foods that help balance cholesterol.

1. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber. Studies have shown that fiber-rich foods may help lower your levels of total and LDL cholesterol in a small way…

2. Strawberries, like oatmeal, are high in soluble fiber. And a high daily intake of fruit fiber may help lower LDL cholesterol in a small but significant way, which is exactly what you want for your heart. Other high-fiber fruits include raspberries, mangoes, and blueberries…

3. Olive oil is high in heart-friendly monounsaturated fat. It's also rich in artery-friendly phenols (good-for-the-body plant compounds) and antioxidants. The best news about olive oil is that, as part of a heart-healthy diet, it can not only reduce LDL cholesterol but also raise HDL cholesterol levels. Other foods high in monounsaturated fat include almonds, peanut butter, avocados, fish, and certain vegetable oils, such as canola oil…

4. Almonds. Snack on a handful of nuts and you may lower your cholesterol even further. In a study, people who ate a handful of almonds (about 2 ounces) every day for 1 month experienced nearly a 10% reduction in their LDL cholesterol levels.

Read more.

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]