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

A Beginner's Guide to Hiking

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Now that the weather is warmer it’s easy to head outdoors to exercise. And if you’re looking to take your walking routine up a notch, why not hit the trails and try hiking? Whether you live in a big city, the suburbs, or in a rural area, you can easily take a hike through a local park, a woodsy part of town with well-marked trails, or on the beach (sand makes for a great workout!) — or check out Rails to Trails to find old railroad tracks that were converted to trails in your area. Hiking not only challenges your muscles in new ways and … it’s also a great opportunity to get in touch with nature, relieve stress, and enjoy the fresh air. Not to mention it’s a fun family-friendly activity! If you’re a hiking newbie, follow these tips before you head outdoors:

1. Pack water and healthy snacks, such as nuts, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese sticks, or peanut butter and whole-wheat crackers…

2. Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate shoes that can handle the trails and terrain…

3. Bring a map of the trail if possible. Remember to check the weather and trail conditions before you start your journey to ensure a safe trip…

4. Start with a half-mile hike round-trip and less than 500 feet in elevation gain if you’re not in condition. As you build your endurance you’ll be able to hike longer (or steeper).

5. Bring along a first-aid and emergency kit for longer hikes. Make sure it includes a safety blanket, bandages, a flashlight, a small pocket knife, sun-block, insect repellent, and waterproof matches.

6. Always tell someone where you’re going and who you’re with in case of emergency. That way, if something happens, there will be someone who can help locate you.

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(Roger Gould, M.D., Shrink Yourself) That’s what a patient told me the other day.

“I feel like I have had a head transplant. My cravings are gone, my obsession with food and weight which I have had for over thirty years, is gone. I have such mental clarity now, I can’t believe the fog I have been living in all these years. And I am losing weight without even trying, and I'm not even dieting.”

Did she have a head transplant? Not exactly, but she was "cured" of her obsession with food, and when relieved from the burden of that preoccupation, her mind expanded instead of her waistline.

I have been talking about this for years in my book and in the Shrink Yourself program. The weight problem, the reason most people come to our site, can only be mastered AFTER the obsession with food is gone. I have hesitated to call this a “cure” because everyone is not cured at the same rate. However, for those who are rid of their obsession with food, it seems like a miracle, it feels like a head transplant.

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Hip-hop video says healthy eating is cool

(UPI) A senior film student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham created a 60-second video with a message to kids: Eating healthy is cool.

Anna Lloyd, 22, said her 60-second Internet video "Fresh Grown," features five children rapping and dancing at a grocery store and at the Pepper Place Farmers' Market, both in Birmingham.

The pint-size rappers, surrounded by rows of carrots, tomatoes and strawberries, sing the lyrics "I like fresh grown fruits and vegetables."…

" I wanted a video that would make healthy foods cool, and that's where the idea for a hip-hop video came from."

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Community: Watch the video, it’s really cute. We need a lot more of this kind of thing to counter the amazing number of ads that encourage us to stuff ourselves with unhealthy food.

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Is milk from grass-fed cows more heart-healthy?

(Reuters Health) If milk does the heart good, it might do the heart better if it comes from dairy cows grazed on grass instead of on feedlots, according to a new study.

Earlier experiments have shown that cows on a diet of fresh grass produce milk with five times as much of an unsaturated fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than do cows fed processed grains. Studies in animals have suggested that CLAs can protect the heart, and help in weight loss.

Hannia Campos of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and her colleagues found, in a study of 4,000 people, that people with the highest concentrations of CLAs -- the top fifth among all participants -- had a 36 percent lower risk of heart attack compared to those with the lowest concentrations.

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Chicken with Southwestern Salsa
Serve with a mixed green salad.

Easy Meatless Meals

Tex-Mex Chicken Recipes

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Dieting Alone May Not Help Stave Off Type 2 Diabetes; Muscle Mass, Strength Important

(Science Daily) Sarcopenia -- low skeletal muscle mass and strength -- is often found in obese people and older adults; it has been hypothesized that sarcopenia puts individuals at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes…

[Now, researchers have] found that sarcopenia was associated with insulin resistance in both obese and non-obese individuals. It was also associated with high blood-sugar levels in obese people but not in thin people. These associations were stronger in people under age 60, in whom sarcopenia was associated with high levels of blood sugar in both obese and thin people, and with diabetes in obese individuals.

Dieting to be thin is on its own not enough to stave off diabetes. It is also important to be fit and, in particular, to have good muscle mass and strength, researchers say.

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Touch may speed healing in older patients

(UPI) Osteopathic manipulative medicine -- increasing muscle motion -- was linked to faster healing of older pneumonia patients, U.S. researchers found.

The randomized, controlled clinical trial at seven sites in five states … found pneumonia patients receiving conventional care alone stayed in the hospital one day more than pneumonia patients additionally receiving osteopathic manipulative medicine.

Osteopathic manipulative medicine is a drug-free form of hands-on care focused on increasing muscle motion, explained a study investigator, Kari Hortos.

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Little-Known Mouth Fluid May Lead to Test for Gum Disease

(Science Daily) A little-known fluid produced in tiny amounts in the gums, those tough pink tissues that hold the teeth in place, has become a hot topic for scientists trying to develop an early, non-invasive test for gum disease, the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in adults. It's not saliva, a quart of which people produce each day, but gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), produced at the rate of millionths of a quart per tooth…

The findings advance efforts to develop an early test for gum disease, [researchers] suggest.

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New Weapon Against Highly Resistant Microbes Within Grasp

(Science Daily) An active compound from fungi and lower animals may well be suitable as an effective weapon against dangerous bacteria. We're talking about plectasin, a small protein molecule that can even destroy highly resistant bacteria . Researchers … have shed light on how the substance does this. The authors see plectasin as a promising lead compound for new antibiotics.

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Shark Cartilage Shows No Benefit as a Therapeutic Agent for Lung Cancer, Study Finds

(Science Daily) In the first scientific study of its kind, shark cartilage extract, AE-941 or Neovastat, has shown no benefit as a therapeutic agent when combined with chemotherapy and radiation for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, according to researchers.

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Potential New Source of Stem Cells for Heart Repair

(HealthDay News) Stem cells from the amniotic sac that surrounds a fetus may someday be used to repair damage caused by a heart attack, Japanese researchers report.

The work, so far only conducted in animals, raises the possibility of a non-controversial source of stem cells to treat not only heart disease but also many other conditions, said Dr. Shunichiro Miyoshi…

"I believe these cells may be utilized in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as SLA [systemic lupus erythematosus] and rheumatoid arthritis," Miyoshi said. The amniotic sac is typically discarded after childbirth.

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Ultrasound Helps Spot Stroke Risk in Symptomless Patients

(HealthDay News) Researchers say ultrasound can successfully spot patients at risk of having either a stroke or a "mini-stroke" due to a narrowing of the carotid artery - the main vessel in the neck that brings blood to the brain.

The finding could help doctors more easily identify patients whose otherwise undiagnosed carotid blockage could, in fact, be relieved through a standard surgical procedure, known as an endarterectomy.

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Putting New Medical Guidelines Into Practice Often Difficult

(HealthDay News) After taking part in a face-to-face program designed to review current research and guidelines, doctors made small improvements in the way they prescribed medicine for patients with high blood pressure, a new study reports.

"Ensuring that important clinical trial findings are reflected in the practices of community physicians remains a substantial challenge," the authors of the study wrote. Research indicates that many recommendations "diffuse into widespread community use only slowly and then incompletely. This failure to put scientific findings into practice not only compromises societal return on clinical trial investment but also weakens the scientific basis of clinical care."

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Gratitude boosts romantic relationships

(UPI) Kind gestures can cement a romantic relationship -- but only if a partner expresses gratitude, U.S. researchers suggest…

The researchers tracked 65 couples in a satisfying and committed relationship for day-to-day fluctuations in relationship satisfaction and connection.

The study … found the positive impact on the relationship from kind gestures was noticed even the day after the feeling of gratitude was expressed.

However, if the partner feels indebtedness -- a need to repay kind gestures -- such acts may not yield benefits, the researchers said.

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Stress Less with This Kind of Tea

(RealAge.com) Next time you're feeling frazzled, cozy up to a nice warm cup of chamomile tea.

In a small study of people with anxiety, stress symptoms dropped by about 50 percent when German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) was taken daily for 8 weeks…

Researchers suspect that the flavonoids in chamomile could have something to do with the soothing effects. Or it could be that compounds in chamomile bind to the same receptors as antianxiety medications do. Chamomile may even affect the way certain brain chemicals act on nerves. Feeling stressed? Grab a cup of chamomile tea and double it up with one of these other soothers:

Money troubles? Watch this video for the YOU Docs' advice on using color, plants, and social connections to reduce both work and financial stress.

Are your worries keeping you up? Here are some anxiety treatments that are proved to work.

Get back to nature. Here are three of nature's best stress busters.

Here's another herb that can help you unwind.

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Brief Exercise Reduces Impact of Stress on Cell Aging, Study Shows

(Science Daily) Exercise can buffer the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research from UCSF that revealed actual benefits of physical activity at the cellular level.

The scientists learned that vigorous physical activity as brief as 42 minutes over a 3-day period, similar to federally recommended levels, can protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its impact on telomere length. Telomeres (pronounced TEEL-oh-meres) are tiny pieces of DNA that promote genetic stability and act as protective sheaths by keeping chromosomes from unraveling, much like plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces.

A growing body of research suggests that short telomeres are linked to a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, as well as early death.

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Fit People Release More Fat-Burning Molecules During Exercise

(HealthDay News) A new study provides tantalizing clues about how exercise helps ward off heart disease and other ills: Fit people have more fat-burning molecules in their blood than less fit people after exercise.

And the very fittest are even more efficient, on a biochemical level, at generating fat-burning molecules that break down and burn up fats and sugars, the study reports.

A better understanding of these fat-burning molecules, called metabolites, may not only boost athletic performance, but help prevent or treat chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease by correcting metabolite deficiencies, the researchers said.

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Cooking Light:

Memorial Day Sides
These cool, refreshing sides will add color and flavor to your favorite summer meals.

Quick Pasta Dinners
What's quicker than pasta? These simple dinners come together in a flash.


Chicken with Southwestern Salsa

Jamie Oliver:

a cracking burger
Wrap the crackers in a kitchen towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits with your hands, and put them into a large bowl . Finely chop the parsley, including the...

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A Healthier Burger with This Spice

(RealAge.com) Cooking meat at high temperatures -- a la flame grilling -- can create cancer-causing substances. But here's a spice that counters it: rosemary.

Yep, mixing some rosemary into your burgers may make them not only tastier but safer and healthier, too. In a study, adding rosemary extract to beef patties before grilling slashed the production of harmful high-heat compounds by up to 90 percent.

The cancer-causing substances created by high-heat grilling are called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). They form when amino acids and creatine react together under high temps -- and research suggests these compounds could up the risk of certain cancers, such as stomach cancer. In addition to adding rosemary to grilled meats, you can dial down the HCAs by cooking at lower temperatures and frequently turning meats on the grill. (Check out the YOU Docs' blog for five great ways to cut down on HCA production.)…

Here are eight more ideas on how to make grilled food better for you.

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Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes

(HealthDay News) Here's another reason to brush your teeth regularly: People who don't perform this essential of oral hygiene seem to have a greater risk of heart disease compared to their more diligent peers.

"We were surprised to find a relationship between toothbrushing frequency and both cardiovascular disease and inflammatory markers in the blood," said Richard Watt, co-author of a study published this week in the BMJ.

"We have not established a causal relationship, however. More research is needed to test if improving patients' oral hygiene to reduce their gum inflammation has an effect on cardiovascular disease risk."…

Periodontal disease has been associated with a 19 percent increase in the risk of heart disease. That number leaps to 44 percent in people under the age of 65, according to the study.

The most likely culprit is the inflammation associated with gum disease, which can go system-wide and contribute to plaque build-up in the arteries.

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Experts Advise At-Risk Diabetics to Begin Daily Aspirin Later

(HealthDay News) Three major medical groups have pushed upwards the recommended age at which diabetics should start taking low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke.

According to a joint statement by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology, only male diabetics over 50 and female diabetics over 60 who are at risk for a heart attack or stroke should be taking aspirin as a preventive.

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Laser Used to Blast Away Cells Causing Irregular Heartbeat

(HealthDay News) A new approach to treating irregular heartbeats appears to have demonstrated success in halting abnormal electrical pulses in both patients and pigs, new research indicates.

In essence, the new intervention -- known as "visually guided laser-balloon catheter" -- enables doctors to much more accurately target the so-called "misfiring cells" that emit the irregular electrical impulses that can cause an erratic heartbeat.

In fact, with this new approach, the study team found that physicians could destroy such cells with 100 percent accuracy.

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Too Many Stroke Patients Go Without Statins

(HealthDay News) Despite an increased likelihood that American stroke patients will be prescribed potentially life-saving statin medications when released from the hospital, more than 16 percent are still being discharged without such prescriptions in hand, a large new study reveals.

This means nearly one in five stroke patients are being unnecessarily exposed to the risk of another stroke, researchers found, despite evidence that patients who take a statin (such as Crestor, Lipitor or Zocor) reduce their chances of having a second attack.

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Community: The generic statins are much cheaper than the name brands, and are just as effective.

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Retina Created from Human Embryonic Stem Cells

(Science Daily) UC Irvine scientists have created an eight-layer, early stage retina from human embryonic stem cells, the first three-dimensional tissue structure to be made from stem cells.

It also marks the first step toward the development of transplant-ready retinas to treat eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration that affect millions.

"We made a complex structure consisting of many cell types," said study leader Hans Keirstead… "This is a major advance in our quest to treat retinal disease."

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Computers Can Effectively Detect Diabetes-Related Eye Problems, Analysis Finds

(Science Daily) People with diabetes have an increased risk of blindness, yet nearly half of the approximately 23 million Americans with diabetes do not get an annual eye exam to detect possible problems.

But it appears that cost-effective computerized systems to detect early eye problems related to diabetes can help meet the screening need, University of Iowa analysis shows.

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Single-Lens Distance Glasses Reduce Falls in Active Older People

(Science Daily) Providing single lens distance glasses to older people who wear multifocal glasses and who regularly take part in outdoor activities is a simple and effective way of preventing falls, concludes a study.

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Ultrasound Could Boost Tissue Implant Success

(Science Daily) When we think of ultrasound, it's usually imaging the inside of the body that springs to mind. However, while ultrasound imaging typically requires frequencies that are 50 to 2500 times higher than those human ear can detect, recent increasing evidence indicates that ultrasound at lower frequency can also be used to help certain body tissues to heal and regenerate. Now research … suggests that ultrasound could also help tissue grafts to survive and thrive following surgery.

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Compulsive Behavior in Mice Cured by Bone Marrow Transplant

(Science Daily) Scientists earlier found that mice missing one of a group of core developmental genes known as the Hox genes developed an odd and rather unexpected pathology: the mutant animals groomed themselves compulsively to the point that they were removing their own hair and leaving self-inflicted open sores on their skin. Now, they've found a surprising connection between the Hoxb8 gene and the behavior that looks an awful lot like that of people with an obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder (OCD).

Even more stunning…, the animals' neuropsychological behavior can be cured by bone marrow transplant.

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An Underlying Cause for Psychopathic Behavior?

(Science Daily) Psychopaths are known to be characterized by callousness, diminished capacity for remorse, and lack of empathy. However, the exact cause of these personality traits is an area of scientific debate. The results of a new study … show striking similarities between the mental impairments observed in psychopaths and those seen in patients with frontal lobe damage…

[T]he new study … consisted of a number of different groups: criminal offenders, who had been diagnosed as having antisocial personality disorder with highly psychopathic tendencies, patients with damage to the frontal lobes of the brain, patients with damage to other areas of the brain, and healthy control subjects. The pattern of impairments in the psychopathic participants showed a remarkable resemblance to those in the participants with frontal lobe damage, suggesting that an underlying cause of the behavioural disturbances observed in psychopathy may be dysfunction in the frontal lobes.

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Community: I suggest an immediate, mandatory, frontal lobe transplant for all politicians.

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Sunscreen Dangers? 4 Do's and Don'ts

(U.S. News & World Report) Be afraid, very afraid of that sunscreen you lather on. So suggests a new report from the Environmental Working Group… Scary stuff. But is it true?

The American Academy of Dermatology says no… Here's what Henry W. Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, recommends when it comes to using sunscreen.

1. Do trust that sunscreens work…

2. Do apply a lot, and frequently…

3. Don't worry so much about the chemicals…

4. Don't forget the hat, coverup, and sunglasses.

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Community: Soybean oil has been shown to have an ingredient that’s an effective sunscreen. I wonder why the manufacturers haven’t jumped on that.

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Osteoarthritis Claims Growing Number of Younger Victims

(HealthDay News) Osteoarthritis used to be thought of as an older person's condition…

But these days, doctors have been seeing osteoarthritis more frequently in younger people, particularly osteoarthritis of the knee joints…

Most early onset osteoarthritis appears to be tied to exercise and sports. People are playing harder at younger ages and potentially doing themselves harm by not protecting their joints.

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Herbs, supplements often sold deceptively: U.S. report

(Reuters) Sellers of ginseng, echinacea and other herbal and dietary supplements often cross the line in marketing their products, going as far as telling consumers the pills can cure cancer or replace prescription medications, a U.S. government probe found.

In an undercover probe, investigators at the Government Accountability Office also found that labels for some supplements claim to prevent or cure ailments like diabetes or heart disease -- a clear violation of U.S. law…

The GAO, which conducts investigations for Congress, also said it found trace amounts of potentially harmful contaminants such as lead and arsenic, but at levels that do not exceed federal guidelines.

Findings of pesticides, however, did exceed the FDA's advisory levels, the GAO said, and 16 of 40 supplements tested would violate the FDA's tolerance.

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Healthier Fats Replacing Trans Fats, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) Fears that removing harmful trans fats from foods would open the door for manufacturers and restaurants to add other harmful fats to foods seem to be unfounded, a new study finds.

A team from Harvard School of Public Health analyzed 83 reformulated products from supermarkets and restaurants, and found little cause for alarm.

"We found that in over 80 brand name, major national products, the great majority took out the trans fat and did not just replace it with saturated fat, suggesting they are using healthier fats to replace the trans fat," said lead researcher Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian.

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Got milk? Lift weights? Lose fat

(UPI) Two large glasses of milk a day not only helps women to keep fat off, it helps tone muscles too, Canadian researchers found…

The study … found the women who drank milk [rather than a similar looking beverage] gained barely any weight because what they gained in lean muscle they balanced out with a loss in fat.

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15 best age-erasing superfoods

The latest science shows the muscle-building, brain-enhancing, wrinkle-erasing, heart-strengthening, bone-protecting, immunity-boosting, and inflammation-fighting foods you should be eating every day.

These energy-rich snacks lower bad cholesterol, thanks to plant sterols, and benefit diabetics by lowering blood sugar…

Rich in protein and fiber, these little seeds offer a payload of omega-3 fatty acids, which erase spots and iron out fine lines in the skin…

There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene; and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to absorb the lycopene…

The carnosic acid found in this spice has been shown to reduce stroke risk in mice by 40 percent…

Dried plums
Also known as prunes, these dark shrivelers are rich in copper and boron, both of which can help prevent osteoporosis…

Whole grains
Whole grains — oatmeal, wheat flour, barley, brown rice — are high in fiber, which calms inflamed tissues while keeping the heart strong, the colon healthy, and the brain fueled. Whole grains can be loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber…

Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body…

Chock full of monounsaturated fat, avocados deliver a double-barreled blast to LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). They are also rich in folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that helps lower the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can hinder the flow of blood through blood vessels. Eat a 1/4 cup twice a week, says [dietitian Sari] Greaves.

Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, the walnut sounds like a Frankenfood, but it grows on trees…

Curcumin, the polyphenol that gives turmeric its tang and yellow hue, has anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and tumor-fighting activities known in nutrition-speak as anti-angiogenesis. Researchers at UCLA have also found that it helps deter the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, tiny blockages that may cause Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric’s prevalence in India, the researchers suggest, may help explain why so few of the country’s senior citizens have the disease…

Black beans
People who eat one 3-ounce serving of black beans a day decrease their risk of heart attack by 38 percent, according to a study…

An apple a day reduces swelling of all kinds, thanks to quercetin, a flavonoid also found in the skin of red onions. Quercetin reduces the risk of allergies, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prostate and lung cancers. If given the choice, opt for Red Delicious. They contain the most inflammation-fighting antioxidants.

“Leeks can support sexual functioning and reduce the risk of prostate cancer,” says Michael Dansinger, M.D…

Delicious when added to brown rice, reiki, shiitake, and maitake mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which protects cells from abnormal growth and replication…

Packed with potassium, manganese, and antioxidants, this fruit also helps support proper pH levels in the body, making it more difficult for pathogens to invade, says [trainer Gunnar] Petersen. Plus, the fiber in figs can lower insulin and blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Select figs with dark skins (they contain more nutrients) and eat them alone or add them to trail mix.

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Healthy Cookout Menus
Summertime barbecuing is healthy as can be when you grill with lean cuts of meat, top with light and flavorful sauces, and serve with good-for-you salads and veggies

Herbed Arugula-Tomato Salad with Chicken

Chicken, Mushroom, and Gruyere Quesadillas

Restaurant Favorites Made Healthy
Enjoy the lightened flavors of your favorite restaurant dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Drink Your Way to Health
Replace those empty-calorie, sugary sodas with these ten healthy summer sippers and let summertime drinking improve your health.

Portion Control and Weight Loss
Follow these seven simple tips for controlling portions to help reach your weight-loss goals.

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Surgery, Stenting Fare Equally Well in Preventing Stroke

(HealthDay News) The latest major trial pitting invasive surgery against less invasive stenting to help prevent stroke shows that each is a safe, effective option…

After a median follow-up of 2.5 years, the team found no significant difference in rates of stroke, heart attack or death for patients receiving surgery versus stents. Overall, 7.2 percent of patients receiving stents went on to experience stroke, heart attack or death, compared to 6.8 percent of those undergoing the artery-clearing surgery.

The study found "excellent safety and long-term results for patients with warning signs for stroke as well as for patients without such warning signs," the study's national principal investigator, Dr. Thomas G. Brott … said in a Mayo news release.

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Brain Cells May Serve as Clot-Busters

(HealthDay News) Researchers report that they've discovered how tiny blood vessels remove blood clots from the brain in mice -- a finding that could help scientists gain a better understanding of how to treat people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

Removing clots and other blockages in the brain is crucial to allow blood to flow unimpeded, since blockages can lead to a shortage of oxygen, damaged communication between nerve cells and eventual cell death.

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Household Detergents, Shampoos May Form Harmful Substance in Wastewater

(Science Daily) Scientists are reporting evidence that certain ingredients in shampoo, detergents and other household cleaning agents may be a source of precursor materials for formation of a suspected cancer-causing contaminant in water supplies that receive water from sewage treatment plants. The study sheds new light on possible environmental sources of this poorly understood water contaminant, called NDMA, which is of ongoing concern to health officials…

[R]esearch showed that when mixed with chloramine, some household cleaning products -- including shampoo, dishwashing detergent and laundry detergent -- formed NDMA.

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Discovery May Lead to Safer Drinking Water, Cheaper Medicine

(Science Daily) A discovery that may pave the way to helping reduce health hazards such as E. coli in water could also make chemicals and drugs such as insulin cheaper to produce and their production more environmentally friendly.

By creating a three-dimensional model, [researchers] discovered exactly how the AceK protein acts as a switch in some bacteria to bypass the energy-producing cycle that allows bacteria like E. coli and salmonella to go into a survival mode and adapt to low-nutrient environments, such as water…

The discovery opens the door for scientists to identify a molecule that can keep the bypass switch from turning on so bacteria will die in water…

Conversely, discovering a molecule to keep the bypass switch turned on could produce a supply of the bacteria biotechnology companies use to produce compounds, such as insulin. Instead of using glucose in the fermenting process, companies could use less nutritional and cheaper acetate.

The cost difference would be tremendous and the process would produce less carbon dioxide making the process much more environmentally friendly.

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Washington, D.C., Tops List of Healthiest U.S. Cities

(HealthDay News) Which U.S. city is the healthiest and fittest? According to the American College of Sports Medicine, bragging rights this year go to Washington, D.C.

The distinction headlined the group's annual report card on the well-being of the nation's largest urban areas. Labeled the American Fitness Index, the analysis ranks U.S. cities in terms of chronic disease prevalence as well as the degree to which heavily populated areas take steps to promote preventive health behaviors, ensure access to health care and support physical activity.

The index "not only measures the state of health and fitness in our nation's largest communities but evaluates the infrastructure, community assets, policies and opportunities which encourage residents to live a healthy and fit lifestyle," Walt Thompson, chairman of the American Fitness Index advisory board, said in a news release from the college…

Most of the top 10 cities are in the western part of the country. Following Washington, D.C., in order, are: Boston; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Denver; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco; Hartford, Conn.; and Austin, Texas.

The country's three biggest cities were neither the best nor worst performers, with New York City coming in 21st, Chicago ranking 33rd and Los Angeles, 38th.

Thompson and his colleagues noted a variety of factors that appeared to influence the health and fitness of urban dwellers. Being unemployed, they said, appeared to increase the risk for heart disease, and being better educated increased the likelihood of being active and in good or excellent health.

Being poor or disabled or living in an area prone to violent crime were also linked to a greater risk for having a variety of health concerns, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

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What's More Important in the Obesity Battle – Physical Activity or Medical Treatment?

(Science Daily) Experts disagree in the British Medical Journal about the best way to tackle the obesity crisis. While Professor Louise Baur and colleagues from the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney in Australia acknowledge that "physical inactivity is a major contributor to the global burden of disease," they says that it would be wrong to only focus on this and ignore the problem of obesity.

Baur and colleagues argue that physical inactivity is just one marker and that there is substantial evidence that unhealthy diets low in fibre and high in sugar and large portion size are also responsible for obesity and the diseases associated with it.

However, Dr Richard Weiler, a specialist registrar in sport and exercise medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and general practitioner, and colleagues believe that inadequate cardio-respiratory fitness causes disease more than excess body fat, waist size and body mass index…

Professor Baur and colleagues advocate tackling obesity with a range of strategies, for example, increasing physical activity, improving diet and lifestyles. They say urban planning should be developed to encourage people to use their car less and cycle more and public transport should be made more accessible and affordable.

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One restaurant meal = calories for all day

(UPI) Some U.S. restaurant chain meals can come close to or exceed the 2,000 calories recommended as an adult's daily intake, a food advocacy group says.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and food safety watchdog non-profit group in Washington, announced its Xtreme Eating awards Tuesday for meals served in some U.S. restaurant chains.

Bob Evans' Cinnamon Cream Stacked & Stuffed Hotcakes has 1,380 calories, 34 grams of fat, and features cinnamon chips made of sugar and fat, a layer of cream-cheese-flavored filling, sugary "cream" sauce and whipped topping…

The average American should consume about 2,000 calories per day and limit saturated fat to no more than 20 grams and sodium to 2,400 mg.

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