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

'Hair Of The Dog' No Hangover Cure, Say Experts

(HealthDay News) During this season of good cheer and abundant holiday parties, hangovers are not uncommon. And while folk remedies abound, the only things that are truly helpful in curing the misery of a hangover the morning after are time and fluid replacement, experts say…
There are steps you can take to help lessen the chance of a hangover the next morning, [Dr. Andrew] Yacht said. The first is to eat a meal before you start drinking. "Food helps slow the metabolism of alcohol," he said.
Also, try drinking water, juice or another non-caffeinated beverage in between each alcoholic drink. Not only will this help slow your alcohol consumption, but it will also help to replace some of the lost fluids, he said.
[Dr. Brandon] Browne also recommended pacing yourself. "Don't drink large amounts of alcohol quickly. If you do, the liver gets slammed with alcohol and the alcohol gets absorbed more rapidly," he said. (The general rule of thumb is one drink an hour, since that is usually all the alcohol your liver can effectively process in that time.)
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Winter spurs seasonal affective disorder

(UPI) The shorter days of winter can trigger seasonal affective disorder, a U.S. psychiatrist says.
Dr. Angelos Halaris … says SAD is characterized by depression, exhaustion and lack of interest in people and regular activities, and can interfere with a person's ability to function properly…
"If at all possible, get outside during winter, even if it is overcast," Halaris recommends. "Expose your eyes to natural light for one hour each day. At home, open the drapes and blinds to let in natural light. SAD can be effectively treated with light therapy, antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy."
Community: Don’t forget Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s advice for conquering affective disorder without medication.
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Take Steps to Avoid Winter's Indoor Allergies

(HealthDay News) The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) offers tips for keeping yourself sniffle-free if you're cooped up inside:
· Keep indoor humidity below 55 percent…
· Check your furnace to make sure it has a high-efficiency furnace filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12…
· Take special care to keep allergens out of your bedroom. "Keep pets and their dander out, and encase mattresses and pillows with dust mite-proof covers," allergist Dr. Myron Zitt, past president of ACAAI, said..
· Step up your housekeeping efforts… When dusting, allergy sufferers are urged to wear a NIOSH-rated N95 mask.
· Use a fan or open a window in the bathroom and kitchen when moisture builds up to reduce mold growth.
· If your garage is attached to the house, beware of noxious odors or fumes that can trigger asthma. Move insecticides and containers of gasoline and other irritants to a shed.
· Keep your decor free of dust-collectors.
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5 Dining-Out Strategies

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Going out to dinner tonight? The best way to eat healthy and still enjoy the foods you love is to consider some smart strategies beforehand. Why? Those who don't plan ahead tend to consume an additional 500 calories when dining out, according to a study by the American College of Cardiology…
Just say no to the bread basket
Load up on veggies.
Skip the side of potatoes or rice most restaurants offer, and ask for extra steamed or grilled vegetables or a salad to complement your dinner instead…
Stick to lean protein
Consider your beverages.
Skip the mixed drink or cocktail and order a nonalcoholic beverage, such as water, club soda with a twist, diet soda, or unsweetened iced tea…
Enjoy dessert
Simply employ the South Beach Diet "3-Bite Rule": Order the dessert that is tantalizing you — along with enough forks for your tablemates. Then, savor a few bites and pass the plate to your fellow diners. You’ll soon see that enjoying just 3 bites of a delicious dessert is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Thai Beef Salad
Budget-friendly flank steak paired with traditional Thai flavors gives you a filling salad for dinner that's less than 300 calories.
EatingWell:
Five-Spice Scallops
You could also serve the scallops over Asian salad greens dressed with sesame oil and rice vinegar for a simple dinner.
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Try These 3 Tricks to Quiet Heartburn

(RealAge.com) If 2010 saw you popping antacids like candy, consider making three small changes in the coming year.
Skip the soda, sip dark-roasted coffee instead of lighter roasts, and eat dinner earlier. Doing these three things every day could cut heartburn episodes by 30 percent or more.
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Study finds high rate of ER trips for food allergies

(Reuters Health) Food allergies may send more Americans to emergency rooms each year than commonly believed, a new study suggests…
No one is sure why food allergies are being diagnosed more frequently. One theory is that changes in kids' diets are a contributor. Another theory, known as the "hygiene hypothesis," holds that modern cleanliness provides less exposure to germs early in life and may make the immune system more prone to attack normally benign substances, including food proteins.
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Consistent Exercise Associated With Lower Risk of Colon Cancer Death

(Science Daily) Consistent exercise is associated with a lower risk of dying from colon cancer, according to a new study…
[T]hose who exercised consistently for at least 10 years had the lowest risk of colon cancer death.
"People who were consistently active over the course of their adulthood had a lower risk of death from colon cancer than those who were sedentary," says first author Kathleen Y. Wolin, ScD. "People often wonder around the start of a new year whether exercise really will help them stay healthy or whether it's already too late. It's never too late to start exercising, but it's also never too early to start being active. That's the message we hope people will take away from this study."
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Alzheimer's: Therapy for Brain Disease Could Target Blood

(Science Daily) New experiments from The Rockefeller University, building on a paper published earlier this year, show how amyloid-β interacts with a clotting agent in the blood, increasing blood clots that are harder than usual to break down and starving neurons of their regular supply of oxygen. The research suggests that the effects of amyloid-β on the blood vessels feeding the brain could be an important aspect of the havoc they wreak on the brain…
The findings could suggest a drug target for disrupting this interaction, thereby preventing the downstream consequences, which could include decreased blood flow, cognitive dysfunction and inflammation of the neurons.
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Home Health Care Could Help Sustain Health Care Systems, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Home health care technology may provide one important solution to global concerns about how to sustain health care systems threatened by rising costs and manpower shortages…, according to a new RAND Corporation study…
"The aging of the world's population and fact that more diseases are treatable will create serious financial and manpower challenges for the world's health care systems," said Dr. Soeren Mattke, the study's lead author and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Moving more health care into the home setting where patients or family members can manage care could be one important solution to these challenges."
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At very least, this new year: Exercise

(UPI) A British physiotherapist says making just one lifestyle change -- exercise -- can help improve health.
Leslie Alford…, who has reviewed 40 international studies on the value of exercise, takes issue with those who say: "What's the point? I've never been able to lose weight or give up smoking, why should I exercise?"…
Alford says it is important patients understand the health benefits of losing weight or giving up smoking. However, if a patient cannot lose weight or give up smoking, he or she should still be encouraged to be more physically active.
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Best Fitness Routines Fit Your Personality, Studies Show

(LiveScience) Decades of psychological research have boiled down human personality to five different components: conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to experience…
Of course, most people are combinations of the above, [research psychologist Martin] Hagger said. For example, a conscientious man who is also extroverted may want to join a very competitive sports team. An agreeable woman with lots of openness to experience may be overjoyed organizing group walks in the park.
The important thing is making the commitment to exercise. "People will make New Year's resolutions, stick to them for a couple weeks and then they fall by the wayside," Hagger said, because they get busy and other distractions gain priority.
But finding the right exercise routine – something that expresses (or soothes) your personality – can make it easier to stick to.
Still, there's no need to get neurotic about it: "Most people will find their ideal exercise instinctively," [consultant psychologist Dr. George] Sik said.
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Preparation can reduce skiing injury risk

(UPI) Getting in shape before skiing may be the best way to prevent injuries, a U.S. professor of orthopedic surgery advises…
To prevent or lessen the severity of common ski-related injuries:
-- Take time to learn techniques for moving, stopping and falling from a professional instructor, rather than just relying on haphazard tips from friends.
-- Check to make sure your ski binding is working properly and perform a self-release test at the start of each day.
-- Wear a helmet to help protect against head injuries.
-- Drop your ski pole when you fall to avoid thumb and hand injuries.
-- Avoid alcohol and drugs, which can interfere with your performance, slow response times or make you jittery or nervous.
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Mediterranean diet tied to slower mental decline

(Reuters Health) People who eat and drink like the Greeks may think a little more clearly into old age, hints a new study.
The findings add to a handful of evidence that a Mediterranean-style diet may be as good for the brain as it is for the rest of the body.
Traditionally associated with the consumption of a lot of wine, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and fish -- and with very little red meat -- the Mediterranean way of eating has been credited with helping to prevent various ailments, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, lead researcher Christine Tangney … told Reuters Health in an e-mail.
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Healthy Habits challenge for January: Eat More Vegetables and Fruit

(Cooking Light) It’s the original mom’s injunction: Eat your vegetables. Specifically, add three servings per day—although fruit counts, too. Only 25% of Americans eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, yet the recommended number for most adults is about nine. Plants are the absolute foundation of a healthy diet, providing all sorts of nutrients and fibers that play a role in disease prevention. Eating more plants tends to displace higher-calorie foods, balancing your diet and controlling hunger…
Vegetables … require prep and cooking time that you might feel you don’t have. But remember the invaluable frozen-food case, offering peas, corn, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and more.
An average serving of produce is one-half cup (one cup for leafy greens).
Community: My closest grocer has fresh fruit and vegetables already cut up and ready to cook. They cost more, of course, but could be an alternative if you don’t have time to do the prep yourself.
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Some soy supplements OK for long-term use

(Reuters Health) Menopausal women who take a certain type of soy supplement long-term aren't at increased risk for breast cancer or any other ill effects, a new two-year study suggests.
But the researchers point out that the findings may not apply to all soy supplements. The ones used in the study contained a different combination of the estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones than preparations typically available over the counter.
Given their estrogen-like properties, soy isoflavones have been suggested as an alternative to hormone therapy for women experiencing menopausal symptoms, Dr. Francene M. Steinberg … and her colleagues note… While there is little evidence from current research that the supplements can cause harm, the researchers add, they allow women to consume up to four times the amount of isoflavones contained in a typical Asian diet.
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Recipes

Cooking Light:
Best Recipes of 2010
All Cooking Light recipes have to meet our high standards, but a few each issue are so great they end up as staff favorites.
Superfast Appetizers
Whether it's an impromptu get-together with friends or a formal cocktail party, these 20-minute recipes will satisfy for your New Year's celebration.
EatingWell:
Ham & Red Pepper Spread
Spread this creamy ham and roasted red pepper dip on Belgian endive, crackers or toasted baguette or use it as a dip for vegetables.
MyRecipes.com:
Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika and Parmesan Polenta
Discover the wonders of smoked paprika with this easy and economical fish dinner. Creamy polenta complements the full-flavored fish.
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Team-Based Treatment Helps Those With Cluster of Chronic Illnesses

(HealthDay News) A treatment team headed by an experienced nurse improved the health of patients suffering from multiple chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and depression.
A study … reports improvements in the four areas of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol control and depression in middle-aged patients offered this treatment strategy.
"The results were great. All of the key parameters improved in the intervention group compared with the controls," said study author Dr. Wayne J. Katon. "And the intervention patients were less disabled at the end of one year, rated their quality of life as higher and were more satisfied with medical care."
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Drug Abuse Treatment Rates on the Rise: U.S. Report

(HealthDay News) Admissions for alcohol abuse treatment have remained the same in parts of the Midwest and South while dropping elsewhere in the United States, while treatment rates for illegal drugs are increasing across the country, especially for marijuana abuse, according to a new report. The report, issued by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), includes these findings:…
Admissions for alcohol use dropped by about 15 percent nationally…
Admission rates for marijuana use rose by 30 percent nationwide…
An earlier SAMHSA report revealed that admission rates for abuse of opiates other than heroin -- including some prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin -- rose by 345 percent from 1998-2008. The new report says admission rates for painkiller abuse rose in every part of the country…
The admission rate for treatment of methamphetamine abuse was 53 percent higher in 2008 than in 1998, although it's down from its peak in 2005.
Admissions for cocaine abuse fell by 23 percent nationally.
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Coma and General Anesthesia Demonstrate Important Similarities

(Science Daily) The brain under general anesthesia isn't "asleep" as surgery patients are often told -- it is placed into a state that is a reversible coma, according to three neuroscientists who have published an extensive review of general anesthesia, sleep and coma…
Knowing more about the brain circuit mechanisms may also help researchers develop therapeutic agents to "tweak the circuits as needed, to help us in the areas where we don't do well, such as abnormalities of sleep and, especially, emergence from a coma," [study co-author, Dr. Nicholas D.] Schiff says. "And while use of general anesthesia is an incredibly safe technique, it can have effects on the elderly, such as slower recovery time and impaired cognitive function afterwards."
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Bacteria Provide Example of One of Nature's First Immune Systems, Research Shows

(Science Daily) Studying how bacteria incorporate foreign DNA from invading viruses into their own regulatory processes, Thomas Wood … is uncovering the secrets of one of nature's most primitive immune systems.
His findings … shed light on how bacteria have throughout the course of millions of years developed resistance to antibiotics by co-opting the DNA of their natural enemies -- viruses…
"Our study is the first to show that we need to look at all bacteria and look at their old viral particles to see how they are affecting the bacteria's current ability to withstand things like antibiotics. If we can figure out how the cells are more resistant to antibiotics because of this additional DNA, we can perhaps make new, effective antibiotics."
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Indoor Plant Intervention: New Answers for Health Care Design?

(Science Daily) Could a plant "intervention" improve the well-being of patients in a difficult rehab process?...
[Researchers] studied the effects of an indoor plant intervention during a 2-year study conducted at the Røros Rehabilitation Center. The experiment showed that patients' overall physical and mental health improved during the program, but the presence of new plants did not increase the degree of improvement. One encouraging finding: pulmonary patients in the "plant intervention group" reported a larger increase in well-being during their rehabilitation program more often than lung patients from the "no-plant" control group.
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5 Tips for Keeping New Year's Resolutions

(LiveScience) From quitting smoking to losing weight, lots of people have high hopes as they ring in the New Year. To beat the odds and actually keep those bold resolutions, be ready for some failures and don't give up, one expert says.
"Behavior and habit changes are very difficult for many people. On the other hand success brings a lot of rewards," said G. Alan Marlatt, director of the University of Washington's Addictive Behaviors Research Center.
Marlatt offers some tips for keeping your resolutions. 
1. Just make a few resolutions
2. Choose your resolutions wisely
3. Get back on the wagon
4. Come up with a strategy
5. Keep a diary
...and don't give up!
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For Cholesterol Control, Experts Urge More Than Meds

(HealthDay News) Advances in medical science have made it easier than ever to lower dangerous cholesterol levels.
A class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins have proven particularly effective, reducing the risk for heart-related death by as much as 40 percent in people who have already suffered a heart attack, said Dr. Vincent Bufalino…, a spokesman for the American Heart Association…
But he and other doctors warn that when it comes to controlling cholesterol and enjoying overall health, nothing beats lifestyle changes, such as a heart-friendly diet and regular exercise…
These days, it's easier than ever to choose foods that contain lots of good cholesterol and little to no bad cholesterol, [senior scientist Alice] Lichtenstein said…
People also can lower their cholesterol by eating foods that contain lots of dietary fiber. Soluble fiber has been found to draw cholesterol out of the bloodstream, Bufalino said. Such foods, including oatmeal and whole-grain bread, are an important part of a cholesterol-fighting diet.
But beating cholesterol takes additional steps as well. Because high cholesterol is closely linked to being overweight or obese, losing pounds is critical -- as is keeping them off. And that means exercising as well as eating right.
Exercising as little as 30 minutes every day can reduce a person's risk for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Even more exercise can help achieve greater weight loss…
"People can be good with it for a while, but it's hard to stay disciplined all the time," [Bufalino] said. "We don't need folks to be perfect. If you can be good 80 to 90 percent of the time, that's great. That's all we need from people."
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Follow This Plan to Lower Stroke Risk

(RealAge.com) Your body's ability to stop a stroke before it starts could be greatly enhanced if you simply rode an exercise bicycle a few times each week.
When older, inactive women in a recent study hopped on their bikes for just 35 minutes three times a week, that's exactly what happened. Their bodies' ability to bust up stroke-provoking clots got significantly better after just 21 days on the pedal-now-and-then program…
For best results, you'll want to make sure you work up a small sweat when you ride, walk, or hike. The women in the study experienced blood-clot-clearing improvements when they worked out at about 70 percent of their maximum heart rate for each 25-minute session. So be sure to kick it up a notch or two above a leisurely pace -- assuming that your health and your doctor allow it…
Another good way to slash stroke risk is to control your sodium intake. Too much salt in the diet may lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke. And limit alcohol, too. Looking for more ways to stop strokes? Give these steps a try:
Community: If you want to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of stroke, here are some ways to do it.
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Food Trends: Canning, men cooking, local

(UPI) The Food Channel's top 10 trends for 2011 are:
-- The canning comeback, something grandma did is gaining popularity for both economy and health.
-- More men cooking because of layoffs.
-- People wanting to get food grown locally.
-- Americans are of tired of being told what they can eat.
-- Social media working as a food guide and coupon source.
-- Corporations thinking like small businesses to respond to a changing market.
-- More fresh foods daily via gardens.
-- Bringing chefs to schools to improve taste and improve diet.
-- Eating out of the box, because change makes people comfortable with more change.
-- Eating for better sex and better health to live longer and healthier.
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Oranges better than vitamin C capsules

(UPI) What makes fruit so healthy is not one compound or another but how fruit compounds combine, a U.S. nutritionist says.
Tory Parker of Brigham Young University … says oranges, blueberries, strawberries and other fruits are so healthful because they contain powerful combinations of compounds. This is the reason why the whole orange is healthier than the orange's components taken separately…
"Carbs and fat increase free radicals, and fruit and internal antioxidants counteract that -- that means fruit should be your desert," Parker says in a statement."We're looking for synergistic effects -- cases where the effect of two or more antioxidants together was stronger than the sum of them separately."
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Recipes

EatingWell:
New Year's Eve
Whether you’re hosting an open house with all of your friends or watching the ball drop with your sweetheart, tasty appetizers and fun—maybe fizzy—drinks are in order.
MyRecipes.com:
Brandy and Mustard-Glazed Tenderloin Steaks
Serve a company-worthy dinner of flavorful steaks, ready in less than 20 minutes. Mashed potatoes drizzled with olive oil and steamed broccoli pair well with this impressive dish.
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Structure Deep Within the Brain May Contribute to a Rich, Varied Social Life

(Science Daily) Scientists have discovered that the amygdala, a small almond shaped structure deep within the temporal lobe, is important to a rich and varied social life among humans. The finding was published this week in a new study … and is similar to previous findings in other primate species, which compared the size and complexity of social groups across those species…
The volume of the amygdala was not related to other social variables in the life of humans such as life support or social satisfaction.
"This link between amygdala size and social network size and complexity was observed for both older and younger individuals and for both men and women," says Bradford C. Dickerson, MD.
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Mindfulness therapy no help in fibromyalgia trial

(Reuters Health) A program aimed at easing stress with meditation and yoga may not be much help for people with the chronic-pain condition fibromyalgia, a recent study suggests.
The study … looked at the effects of so-called mindfulness-based stress reduction -- a technique developed … in 1979 that combines mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga postures.
The technique is now available throughout the world -- in the form of an eight-week program of classes -- to help people manage general stress or health problems, including chronic pain.
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'Breathalyzers' May Be Useful for Medical Diagnostics

(Science Daily) Researchers have overcome a fundamental obstacle in developing breath-analysis technology to rapidly diagnose patients by detecting chemical compounds called "biomarkers" in a person's respiration in real time.
The researchers demonstrated their approach is capable of rapidly detecting biomarkers in the parts per billion to parts per million range, at least 100 times better than previous breath-analysis technologies, said Carlos Martinez, an assistant professor of materials engineering.
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What You Need to Know About Medical Tests

(HealthDay News) When your doctor orders a medical test for you, there are a number of questions you need to ask before and after it, experts advise.
The Center for Advancing Health, an organization dedicated to seeing that everyone benefits from advances in health care, offers some helpful tips for patients.
First, they suggest, ask your doctor to write down details such as the name of the test and the reason for it. Request written materials or other resources that describe how you need to prepare for the test and what to expect during it.
Ask how much the test costs. Find out if your insurance covers the test and what you will have to pay in out-of-pocket costs.
After you've had the test, follow-up is important. Always ask to see your test results, whether they are good or bad. You should know how you will be notified about the results, how long you will have to wait for the results, and who you should contact after receiving them.
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Doctors on Facebook Risk Compromising Doctor-Patient Relationship, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Doctors with a profile on the social networking site Facebook may be compromising the doctor-patient relationship, because they don't deploy sufficient privacy settings, indicates research published online…
[The authors] warn: "Doctors must be aware that comments and pictures posted online may be misinterpreted outside their original context and may not accurately reflect their opinions and real-life behaviour. This information could also become accessible to people that it was not intended for."
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Three-quarters of U.S. uninsured employed

(UPI) Seventy-five percent of the some 50 million of the U.S. population with no health insurance come from working families, researchers say.
The report by the Kaiser Family Foundation says 57 percent of people in the U.S. under age 65 receive health insurance coverage as an employer benefit. Medicare covers virtually all those who are age 65 years and older, but the non-elderly who do not have access to or cannot afford private insurance now go without health coverage unless they qualify for insurance through the Medicaid program, Children's Health Insurance Program or a state-subsidized program.
The report says the recession has resulted in many losing their health insurance because they have become unemployed, but it has become increasingly difficult for many of the employed to afford coverage.
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Bring Good Luck with New Year's Food Traditions

(MyRecipes.com) Ring in the New Year with one of these classic dishes from Japan, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and China.
Japanese tradition calls for eating soba noodles on New Year's Eve to ensure a long life…
In Spain, it's customary to eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve…
For Germans, juicy pork is the lucky food of choice…
Brazilians associate red lentils with wealth, so it's common to feast on these satisfying seeds at New Year's celebrations…
In China, … fried dumplings [potstickers] symbolize wealth since they resemble coins.
Read more, including recipes.
Community: They don’t mention the Irish tradition of eating cabbage on New Year’s Day or the U.S. southern tradition of eating blackeyed peas.
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Dieting Resolution Works Best When Done in Stages: Expert

(HealthDay News) If your New Year's resolution involves losing weight, your best chance of success may be to divide your goal into small, manageable parts that you can work on every day, suggests an expert.
"Instead of making the number on the scale the focus, look for other ways to measure success," Stefanie C. Barthmare, a psychotherapist…, said in a hospital news release.
When you set your goal, take the time to create for yourself a vision of what it will look like to achieve that goal. For example, your goal might be to participate in a specific activity or to fit into a smaller size of pants. The next step is to break your goal down into segments and gradually begin to stop consuming foods that are bad for you…
"When you don't come up with a plan to lose weight and the process is torture, you are setting yourself up for failure," she warned. "Doing it a little at a time will keep you from being overwhelmed, and keep you on track for keeping the pounds off and keeping your New Year's resolution."
Community: I have to concentrate on eating for health, not for losing weight. Otherwise, I get discouraged if I don't lose ten pounds a day.
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7 Diet Tricks That Really Work

(LiveScience) Every day, it seems, there is new advice headlining papers and magazines on how to lose weight. It can get overwhelming trying to tease the legitimate from the fads, so we turned to the experts.
Here are the top seven tricks that scientists say really work.
Avoid corn syrup
One study showed that rats who drank HFCS-sweetened beverages gained significantly more weight than those who slurped drinks sweetened with sugar -- even when both groups consumed the same amount of calories…
The researchers expect the finding to be relevant to humans, pointing out that HFCS is not only found in soft drinks, but can be the primary ingredient in baked goods, many cereals, canned fruits, desserts, juices and jams…
Don't let junk food warp your brain
A new study in rats suggests that junk food can affect the brain in ways similar to drug abuse. Mirroring human consumption patterns, rats were given unlimited access to food we can find in every corner store -- frosting, bacon, candy bars, donuts, sausage, hot dogs, snack cakes and so on.
Obesity, of course, resulted, according to the study detailed in the journal Nature Neuroscience in March 2010. Two hallmarks of drug addiction also appeared.
First, many dopamine receptors -- important players in the brain's reward pathway -- disappeared, possibly signaling that more food was now needed to reach previous levels of satisfaction. Behavior also changed; eating these foods became top priority. The rats continued eating even after a light warned them that they would get shocked if they didn't stop.
The behavior parallels both that of compulsive eaters and addicts, said study researcher Paul Kenny…
Structure meal and snack times
One of the major mistakes Marissa Lippert, a registered dietician and nutrition counselor in New York City, finds among dieters is that they wait too long between mealtimes. Long stretches without food makes people crave energy-dense carbs (pass the bread basket, NOW!) and can make it difficult for people to make healthy choices and watch portion sizes when they do eat. It may also compromise metabolism, she said.
Lippert advises planning meals and snacks in advance, allowing your body to settle into a predictable routine and helping you avoid desperate energy crashes…
Once a structure is in place, respect it. Studies have shown that ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger, spikes at our usual mealtimes -- even if we have just eaten. So if lunch comes early, expect to be hungry again. Having a healthy snack, or a portion of your lunch, on hand could prevent a foul mood or vending-machine run…
Satisfy the body -- especially at breakfast
In one study, men ate one of two breakfasts, each with an equal number of calories, and then ate freely for the rest of the day. The men who had a protein-rich breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast) not only reported feeling less hungry at lunchtime, but also ate about 400 fewer calories over the following 24 hours, when compared with men who had the carb-rich breakfast (a bagel with low-fat cream cheese and low-fat yogurt.)…
Other studies have also supported the value of hearty, even rich, breakfasts when it comes to healthy eating -- especially if lighter choices are made at later meals…
Favor foods low on the glycemic index, or closer to nature
The glycemic index refers to how quickly food affects blood sugar, with items lower down on the index (high fiber or protein-rich foods) giving steadier supplies of energy, and those higher on the index (sweets and processed foods) giving quick hits and subsequent falls…
Simply favoring whole fresh foods over processed ones will naturally lower the glycemic index of your diet and optimize the healthiness of your food choices, [Lippert] said. Whole foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, are also easier to keep in proper portions, while processed foods, such as candy, juice drinks and refined grains, are easy to consume in amounts that are too large…
Change your environment
A new finding from researchers at Cornell University suggests that the secret to a successful diet can lie in changing your surroundings. Whether this involves using smaller plates, keeping "seconds" out of immediate reach, or hiding the chocolate, altering the food environment helps people lose more weight than trying to change eating habits or food choices, the researchers found…
Enjoy your food
The best diet advice is often given indirectly. Studies such as those associating healthy weights with eating slowly, away from the television, apart from the Blackberry or iPad and in conversation with loved ones, all essentially advise the same thing: Savor your food.
Food that is eaten mindlessly is neglected food. And neglected food imparts the emptiest of calories.
When we pay attention to what we eat -- its color, texture, freshness and seasonings -- we are satisfied in a deeper way than stuffing of our stomachs could ever accomplish. In this way, we maximize the pleasure of our meals, while eating an amount best for our bodies. And, according to Lippert, if you truly take the time to savor each luscious bite, you will be surprised how much less will satiate you.
Eating well, after all, is as much about the brain as the belly, scientists say.
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