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

Stretch Before You Pick Up That Rake: Expert

(HealthDay News) If you're planning on digging up your garden or taking to the playing fields this summer, make sure you start slow, take breaks and stretch.
Experts caution that jumping into new activities too quickly after a long winter's rest can lead to back pain.
"When it comes to gardening and back pain, your body may need a few weeks after the long winter to become accustomed again to the physical stresses of gardening, such as squatting, twisting, lifting and digging," said Dr. David Wang.
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Smoking strongly linked to age-related blindness

(Reuters Health) [A] new study shows that smokers are at substantially increased risk for developing age-related blindness.
The research, by scientists in Japan and the United States, shows that Japanese smokers face four times the risk of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, than non-smokers…
"The bottom line for people worried about age-related macular degeneration is that there is a modifiable risk factor that is very, very strong, and that's smoking," said Dr. Peter Gehlbach…, a co-author of the study.
"It may well be that a significant portion of macular degeneration is the result of prior significant exposure to cigarette smoke," Gehlbach told Reuters Health.
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Smokers have slimmer odds of surviving colon cancer

(Reuters Health) Smokers aren't just more likely to develop colon cancer than non-smokers, they might also be at higher risk of dying from the disease, a new study suggests.
The results, reported in the journal Cancer, show that smokers were 30 percent more likely to die of colon cancer during the study and 50 percent more likely to die of any cause than their smoke-free peers.
Former smokers also had worse survival odds than non-smokers, but had a better outlook than current smokers.
"If you needed another reason not to smoke, or to quit smoking, this is as good a reason as any," said lead researcher Amanda Phipps.
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Healthy Choices to Keep Cancer at Bay

(Linda B. White, M.D., Mother Earth News) While some people inherit genes that dramatically raise the risk for certain cancers, only 5 percent to 10 percent of cancers of the breast, ovaries and colon are attributed to genetic factors. This means that environmental factors, many of which you can control, cause the majority of cases. Here are some of the most important choices you can make to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Nutrition Matters
A 1997 report from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research estimated that diet accounted for one-third of cancer deaths…
Follow a plant-based diet…
Graze on berries…
Crunch cruciferous vegetables…
Eat complex carbs…
Add spice to your life…
Go for garlic…
Minimize meat…
Choose your fats wisely…
Healthy Choices
Regular exercise…
Avoid tobacco…
Keep alcohol to a minimum…
Avoid stress overload…
Stay social…
Get screened…
With the exception of avoiding tobacco, any of these lifestyle changes will likely produce modest benefits. Live well, incorporate many healthy acts into your routine, and the impact is significant.
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7 Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You

(Eating Well) Want to lose weight? Try increasing your daily fiber intake in the form of nutrient-rich high-fiber foods. Why fiber? Recent research … suggests eating more fiber as a way to prevent weight gain or even encourage weight loss. Over the course of the two-year study, the researchers found that boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories resulted in about 4 ½ pounds of weight lost.
Try it for yourself. If you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, aim to increase your fiber by 16 grams.
Here are 7 fiber-rich foods that help do the weight-loss work for you
APPLES
A medium apple (3-inch diameter) contains 4 grams of fiber; a large apple (3¼-inch diameter) has 5. Apples also offer a bit of vitamin C and potassium.
GREEN BEANS
One cup boasts 4 grams of fiber, plus a healthy dose (30% daily value) of skin-helping vitamin C.
SWEET POTATOES
A medium-size baked sweet potato (2 inches wide, 5 inches long…a little larger than your computer mouse), skin included, offers 5 grams of fiber—for just 103 calories. It’s also a nutrition powerhouse: providing 438% daily value of eye-healthy vitamin A (eat these foods to help you see more clearly), 37% daily value of vitamin C, plus some potassium, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and phytochemicals like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
RASPBERRIES
Raspberries are a great source of fiber—some of it soluble in the form of pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. One cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber. Raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C.
STRAWBERRIES
One cup of strawberries has a respectable 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps keep skin healthy.
CHICKPEAS
Just ¾ cup of chickpeas has a whopping 8 grams of fiber! You also get a good amount of vitamin B6 and folate, both of which play a role in forming healthy new cells.
PUMPKIN
A cup of cooked pumpkin contains 3 grams of fiber. You also get vitamin A (245% daily value), vitamins C, E and potassium.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Chipotle Chicken Cheesesteaks
This sandwich packs in gooey cheese, smoky spices, and chunks of chicken for a comforting family-friendly dinner.
EatingWell:
Sesame-Crusted Tofu over Vegetables
Marinated, sesame-crusted tofu tops a delightful medley of stir-fried vegetables that includes bok choy, bell pepper, scallions and snow peas. The recipe packs enough vegetables that all you need to add is a little short-grain brown rice to make it a meal.
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Standard Heart Drugs Won't Ease Pulmonary Hypertension

(HealthDay News) Although commonly used to treat heart disease, aspirin and simvastatin offer no benefit to patients suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH, a progressive disease characterized by increased blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, according to new research…
After taking the assigned medication for six months, patients were asked to see how far they could walk in six minutes. The distance tended to be shorter in the simvastatin group, and no difference was seen between the aspirin and placebo patients.
Following these early results, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute discontinued the study.
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High Iron, Copper Levels Block Brain-Cell DNA Repair

(Science Daily) No one knows the cause of most cases of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders. But researchers have found that certain factors are consistently associated with these debilitating conditions. One is DNA damage by reactive oxygen species, highly destructive molecules usually formed as a byproduct of cellular respiration. Another is the presence of excessive levels of copper and iron in regions of the brain associated with the particular disorder.
[Now] researchers have discovered how these two pieces of the neurodegenerative disease puzzle fit together… A high level of copper or iron, they say, can function as a "double whammy" in the brain by both helping generate large numbers of the DNA-attacking reactive oxygen species and interfering with the machinery of DNA repair that prevents the deleterious consequences of genome damage…
The researchers got a surprise when they tested substances that bond to iron and copper and could protect [a DNA repair enzyme] from the metals. One of the strongest protective agents was the common South Asian spice curcumin, which also has been shown to have other beneficial health effects.
Community: As we discussed yesterday, curcumin is also called turmeric. I put some in my daily vegetable juice cocktail.
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Vitamins May One Day Hitch a Protected Ride on Corn Starch

(Science Daily) Vitamins and medications may one day take rides on starch compounds creating stable vitamin-enriched ingredients and cheaper controlled-release drugs, according to Penn State food scientists.
The technique may offer drug and food companies a less expensive, more environmentally friendly alternative in creating, among other products, medications and food supplements.
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New Class of Compounds Discovered With Great Potential for Research and Drug Development

(Science Daily) Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have identified a class of compounds that could be a boon to basic research and drug discovery…
[T]he researchers show the new compounds powerfully and selectively block the activity of a large and diverse group of enzymes known as "serine hydrolases." Previously discovered serine hydrolase-blocking compounds have been turned into drugs to treat obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, and are currently in testing as treatments for pain, anxiety, and depression.
"There are more than 200 serine hydrolases in human cells, but for most we've lacked chemical inhibitors of their activity," said team leader Benjamin F. Cravatt III…, "so we've had only a limited ability to study them in the lab or to block them to treat medical conditions. This new research allows us to greatly expand our list of these inhibitors."
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U.S. study finds easier way to prevent tuberculosis

(Reuters) U.S. health officials say they have found a far simpler therapy for people at risk of developing tuberculosis, addressing a key barrier to preventing the spread of the disease.
Patients who took a combination of two drugs just 12 times over three months fared as well as those who received the standard treatment that requires 270 daily doses, according to a landmark U.S. government study released Monday.
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Agent Orange Linked to Kidney Cancer: Study

(HealthDay News) There appears to be a link between Agent Orange and kidney cancer in U.S. veterans exposed to the herbicide in Vietnam, a new study suggests…
"We know that the chemicals in Agent Orange were extremely toxic, and are known to cause cancer," press conference moderator Dr. Anthony Y. Smith said in an AUA news release. "These data indicate that we may need to better determine whether exposure to these chemicals should be considered a risk factor for kidney cancer."
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Winding Back the Clock With Kidney Stem Cells

(Science Daily) [S]cientists at Monash University … have shown that they can make human stem cells from healthy adult kidneys without working on human embryos, circumventing ethical concerns around this research.
This achievement will allow group leader Associate Professor Sharon Ricardo and her team to model genetic kidney diseases in the laboratory and tease out the mechanisms that control these difficult-to-treat disorders.
"We're taking human kidney cells and winding back the clock to make their early precursors," Ricardo said.
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Researchers Create Nanopatch for the Heart

(Science Daily) Engineers at Brown University and in India have a promising new approach to treating heart-attack victims. The researchers created a nanopatch with carbon nanofibers and a polymer. In laboratory tests, natural heart-tissue cell density on the nanoscaffold was six times greater than the control sample, while neuron density had doubled…
"This whole idea is to put something where dead tissue is to help regenerate it, so that you eventually have a healthy heart," said David Stout…, lead author of the paper…
The approach, if successful, would help millions of people.
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Microscope: Handy, Quick and Flat

(Science Daily) In the future, doctors can pull out a new type of microscope to get to the bottom of suspicious changes in the skin that may indicate melanoma. The new device provides a high-resolution image of skin areas of any size -- and so quickly that you can hold it in your hand without blurring the resulting picture…
Researchers have already produced a first prototype… Boasting an image size of 36 x 24 mm², this microscope can capture matchbox-sized objects in a single pass. It will be at least another one to two years before the device can go into series production, according to the researcher. The spectrum of applications is diverse: with this technology, even documents can be examined for authenticity.
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Few docs, hospitals exchanging patient information

(Reuters Health) Health information exchange -- a process that aims to simplify and improve patient care by connecting doctors and hospitals -- hasn't been catching on as fast as policymakers hoped, a new survey finds.
The results also show that organizations responsible for coordinating the digital exchange of patient records are rarely financially viable, and only a few support the type of information exchange that the government deems necessary…
Two-thirds of the organizations were not financially viable after their initial cash boost -- meaning that they couldn't cover their own operating expenses with the payment they received from doctors and hospitals who exchanged information.
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Robotic Surgery Oversold on Hospital Websites, Study Contends

(HealthDay News) Many hospitals tout the benefits of robotic surgery on their websites without solid scientific evidence to back up those claims, Johns Hopkins researchers report.
In fact, four out of 10 hospitals in the study only used manufacturers' claims that robotic surgery is better than conventional surgery, an assertion that the researchers said is unproven and misleading.
The findings are especially troubling since consumers depend on hospital websites for reliable, trustworthy information, the study authors said.
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More hospital deaths on weekends

(Reuters Health) People admitted to the hospital on the weekend are 10 percent more likely to die than those who checked in during the week, according to a new analysis of nearly 30 million people…
It's not entirely clear why people might fare worse when they come in during the weekend, [study author Dr. Rocco] Ricciardi said in an email. Looking specifically at traumas, he and his colleagues found no differences in death rates between weekend and weekday arrivals, which helps eliminate the possibility that people experience more life-threatening accidents on weekends.
But it's possible that care is different on weekends, he said - perhaps there is less nursing, fewer well-trained doctors, or less access to imaging and other necessary tools.
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McDonald's stockholders reject obesity proposal

(Reuters) McDonald's Corp spurned calls to assess the impact of its food on childhood obesity, and said its trademark clown Ronald McDonald would be hawking Happy Meals to kids for years to come.
"This is about choice and we believe in the democratic process," Chief Executive Jim Skinner told a packed room at its shareholders' meeting, to an enthusiastic wave of applause. "This is about the personal and individual right to choose."
Community: Didn’t the tobacco company executives say something similar when we started to restrict tobacco sales?
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Routine Periodic Fasting Is Good for Your Health, and Your Heart, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Research cardiologists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute are reporting that fasting not only lowers one's risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, but also causes significant changes in a person's blood cholesterol levels. Both diabetes and elevated cholesterol are known risk factors for coronary heart disease.
The discovery expands upon a 2007 Intermountain Healthcare study that revealed an association between fasting and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women in America. In the new research, fasting was also found to reduce other cardiac risk factors, such as triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels.
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Eat high-protein breakfast, eat less later

(UPI) People who eat a healthy breakfast -- especially one high in protein -- are more full and are less hungry throughout the day, U.S. researchers found…
"Everyone knows that eating breakfast is important, but many people still don't make it a priority," [Heather] Leidy says in a statement. "This research provides additional evidence that breakfast is a valuable strategy to control appetite and regulate food intake."
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Curcumin Compound Improves Effectiveness of Head and Neck Cancer Treatment, Study Finds

(Science Daily) A primary reason that head and neck cancer treatments fail is the tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Now, researchers … have found that a compound derived from the Indian spice curcumin can help cells overcome that resistance.
When researchers added a curcumin-based compound, called FLLL32, to head and neck cancer cell lines, they were able to cut the dose of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin by four while still killing tumor cells equally as well as the higher dose of cisplatin without FLLL32.
Community: Curcumin is also known as turmeric, which I put in my daily vegetable juice cocktail.
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Eat Plants to Reduce Risk of Lung Cancer

(RealAge.com) Plant-based edibles -- like beans, grains, fruit, vegetables, and soy foods -- are high in cancer-fighting compounds called phytoestrogens. And in a study, folks with the highest intakes of these nutrients had a 46 percent lower risk of lung cancer compared with people whose diets were low on the phytoestrogen scale.
In the study, only total phytoestrogen intake from food -- not supplements -- caused the big drop in the risk of lung cancer. And, interestingly, both smokers and nonsmokers enjoyed an equally protective benefit — although, for unknown reasons, former smokers benefitted a bit less. The researchers suspect phytoestrogens may interact with estrogen receptors -- normally found on lung tumors -- in such a way that they literally interrupt the growth of tumor cells.
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Greens Are Good for You

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Research shows that consuming dark greens may help you maintain good health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease. Dark greens are rich in beta-carotene, folate, and vitamins C, E, and K, which help protect against free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules that can damage cells). In addition to being dark leafy greens, arugula, beet greens, bok choy, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and turnip greens are cruciferous vegetables, which are packed with antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. Eating dark greens regularly may also protect against certain cancers, promote normal eyesight, and improve gastrointestinal function…
The most recent dietary guidelines published by the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend consuming at least 3 cups of dark-green vegetables per week.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Grilled Steak with Caper-Herb Sauce
Serve a simple steak dinner with grilled garlic bread to soak up every last drop of the flavorful caper-herb sauce.
EatingWell:
Italian Mussels & Pasta
This combination of mussels with plenty of garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine was inspired by the Venetian soup zuppa de peoci, which is usually ladled over sliced crusty bread. Here we serve it over pasta.
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Arthritis, obesity make each other worse

(UPI) When arthritis and obesity occur together they can create a barrier to physical activity, each condition helping make the other worse, U.S. officials say…
CDC health officials say low impact activities such as walking, swimming and biking are appropriate for obese adults with arthritis and can result in both weight and pain reduction.
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FDA to Pull Diabetes Drug Avandia From Pharmacy Shelves

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that the controversial diabetes drug Avandia will no longer be sold at retail pharmacies beginning this November, due to the cardiovascular risks it poses to patients.
According to the new rules, which will go into effect on Nov. 18, the medication will only be available to patients who've been safely using the drug, those who have had no success in controlling their blood sugar with other diabetes medications or patients who have been informed of the risks and still choose to take Avandia (rosiglitazone).
These patients must be enrolled in a special program to qualify to receive the drug, according to the FDA.
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Novel Gene Linked to Aging Hearts

(Science Daily) Researchers … have identified a novel gene in the nucleus of muscle and brain cells that affects heart development and the aging process. Their investigation brings the promise of new treatments for an old, failing heart…
"Greater knowledge of this gene and how it works will help us understand loss of cardiac function. Our research opens up new avenues relevant to the characteristics of cardiac development," said [molecular biologist Patrick Burgon, PhD].
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Enzyme May Drive Breast Cancer Growth

(Science Daily) A recently discovered enzyme drives the production of a potent form of estrogen in human breast cancer tissue, researchers … have found.
The extra-strength estrogen, called estradiol, then drives the production of even more enzyme, in what may be a lethal feed-forward mechanism. Estradiol has been implicated in exacerbating tumor growth in breast cancer…
The enzyme is a promising therapeutic target because blocking it may halt production only of the dangerous estradiol, which would reduce the side effects seen with other drugs that inhibit production of many estrogen-related compounds, [Geula] Gibori said.
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Spinal Stimulation Helps Paralyzed Man Regain Movement

(HealthDay News) A patient completely paralyzed below the chest after an road accident has been able to stand up by himself, move his legs and feet and take some assisted steps on a treadmill, thanks to electrical stimulation of his lower spinal cord.
The technique -- called epidural spinal cord stimulation -- mimics signals the brain normally sends to start movement. In addition to returning voluntary movement to his hips, knees, ankles and toes, the treatment also was able to give the patient back some sexual and bladder function.
"This does not represent a cure for spinal cord injury, but it represents some very new ideas -- something to build on," lead researcher Reggie Edgerton … said during a press conference Thursday.
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Exercise Helps Women Fight Smoking Cravings, but Effect Is Short-Lived

(Science Daily) For years researchers have found that exercise can curb nicotine cravings, but have struggled to show a practical benefit in trials. Newly published research suggests a reason: the effect is too ephemeral. The next step, funded by a 5-year grant, will be to see how frequently exercise might be needed to have a lasting therapeutic effect.
Dozens of studies on whether moderate exercise can curb the nicotine cravings of women smokers have added up to an apparent contradiction: it seems to work in short-term, well controlled lab experiments, but then fizzles out in treatment trials. A new study may explain why and help researchers devise a practical therapy.
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New risks, treatment for problem gamblers: report

(Reuters) The growth of on-line casinos offers new temptations for problem gamblers, but the Internet should also provide avenues to treat them, according to a report in a leading medical journal on Wednesday…
Structuring Internet forums to help people in the same way they are used by self-help support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, is among the ideas being explored by researchers.
Problem gamblers often have other psychiatric disorders or substance abuse problems, but there is a lack of studies into how to deal with those situations, according to the Lancet report.
[David Hodgins, co-author of the report,] said researchers must examine how the overlapping problems could be "addressed at the same time" to prevent people from "switching addictions."
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Cost keeps many U.S. adults from eye care

(UPI) Cost, or the lack of health insurance, keeps many U.S. adults from getting eye examinations, putting their vision at risk, health officials say…
CDC health officials say it is important to have people age 40 and older with risk of any age-related eye disease -- or chronic disease that affects the eyes, such as diabetes -- get regular comprehensive eye exams. Many serious eye diseases can be detected before symptoms appear and treated to reduce visual impairment, the report says.
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NYC offers discount card for prescription drugs

(Reuters) New York City began offering a new card on Wednesday that lets people buy prescription drugs at big discounts, a step that could potentially increase drug sales and ease strains on the city's public hospitals.
Residents, tourists, commuters, and people who already have insurance, are all eligible for the new and free BigAppleRx cards, regardless of age, income, or citizenship, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters.
Discounts are expected to average 47 percent. Patients with diabetes could save as much as $831 a year on generic medicines while asthma sufferers could save $667 on inhaler drugs.
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Almost 30% of Urban ERs Closed During Past Two Decades: Study

(HealthDay News) U.S. cities have lost almost 30 percent of their hospital emergency rooms in the past 20 years, while patient visits to ERs jumped by more than 35 percent, new research shows.
And the closures disproportionately affect "safety net" emergency rooms, meaning those serving patients who are poor, publicly insured or uninsured -- people without access to traditional avenues of health care, according to a study…
The implications include longer waits at remaining ERs, including those in higher-income communities, overcrowding and reduced access to medical care, experts said.
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Zurich voters reject ban on "suicide tourism"

(Reuters) Voters in Zurich overwhelmingly rejected on Sunday proposed bans on assisted suicide and "suicide tourism" -- foreigners traveling to Switzerland to receive help ending their lives…
Many terminally ill foreigners -- particularly from Germany, France and Britain -- travel to Switzerland to commit suicide, taking advantage of the Swiss rules which are among the world's most liberal.
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Ways to Boost Your Mood

(Reader's Digest) Even the most optimistic people can use a mood boost every once in awhile. Taking an extra moment for yourself will make your day brighter and give you a healthier outlook on life. Here are ten simple ways you can bring a little happiness into your life right now:
1. Go for a walk
Grab your dog, best friend, or your significant other and head out on a brisk walk. Just a little bit of exercise can boost your mood and give you a fresh perspective on problems that have been bothering you..
2. Give it a rest
DVR late-night television and head to bed earlier…
3. Thank someone
Acknowledge something that someone has done for you and send a note or a small bouquet of flowers. You’ll put a smile on their face and yours.
4. Compliment a stranger
Love her hair color? Dying to know where he got that awesome hat? Tell someone that you like something that they have and you’re guaranteed to brighten their day…
5. Plan a vacation
Getting bogged down with our daily routines can send us into a rut, causing us to look at things negatively. Booking a trip near or far away will give you something to look forward to, and the break from your normal routine will  help you to see your life a little more clearly.
Read more, including many more practical ideas for improving mood.
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Simple Fitness Test Could Predict Long-Term Risk for Heart Attack, Stroke

(Science Daily) In two separate studies, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that how fast a middle-age person can run a mile can help predict the risk of dying of heart attack or stroke decades later for men and could be an early indicator of cardiovascular disease for women.
The scientists found that low levels of midlife fitness are associated with marked differences in the lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease…
Researchers in this study found that a higher fitness level lowered the lifetime risk of heart disease even in people with other risk factors.
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Dairy Consumption Does Not Elevate Heart-Attack Risk, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Dairy products can be high in harmful saturated fat but not necessarily in risk to the heart. A newly published analysis of thousands of adults in Costa Rica found that their levels of dairy consumption had nothing to do statistically with their risk of a heart attack…
Rather than suggesting that the saturated fats in dairy products are harmless, [the study authors] hypothesize that other nutrients in dairy products are protective against heart disease, for all but perhaps the highest dairy consumption quintile in their study. The potentially beneficial nutrients include calcium, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Community: That’s good news, because I love milk. Maybe I’ll go back to 1%, rather than fat free.
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Easy Ways to Load Up on Healthy Omega-3 Fats

(U.S.News & World Report) Filling up on omega-3 fatty acids does a body good. These polyunsaturated fats, which play a crucial role in how your body's cells function, have been shown to reduce harmful inflammation that could lead to heart disease, decrease triglyceride levels and blood pressure, and prevent fatal heart arrhythmias. Your body can't produce omega-3s, though, so you've got to be diligent about making sure your diet provides them. The good news is the fatty acids hide in tons of foods, like beans, certain oils and veggies, and—as you probably know—seafood. Take a look at these favorite sources.
Seafood
You should eat fish a couple times a week…
Oils
Throw a dash of flaxseed oil onto salad and start cooking with canola or soybean oil for a nice hit of omega-3…
Beans
Kidney, pinto, and mungo beans will do you right.
Nuts and seeds
Add a nutty flavor to salad, yogurt, or morning muesli with walnuts or flaxseed. A small handful of either will up your omega-3 intake.
Spinach
Serve up this leafy green in a salad, or sauté it and add it to a whole-grain pasta dish.
Winter squash
Broccoli and cauliflower
Dietary supplements
If you don't get enough of any of these sources of omega-3s, you might want to consider taking a supplement, especially if you have heart disease or high triglycerides.
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Herbal Teas and Health

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) We know that green tea (and to a lesser extent black tea) provides healthy antioxidants - natural compounds linked to lower cancer risk and improved heart and brain health. New research now shows that some herbal teas (more correctly called infusions, since they're not from the tea plant Camellia sinensis) also have some health benefits. A study group … reviewed the scientific literature on three of the most popular herbal teas and concluded that they warrant further investigation.
The researchers found that chamomile tea, known for its soothing effects, has antimicrobial activity and significant activity against the harmful clumping of platelets (cells that help stop bleeding).
They also reported that peppermint tea has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities plus strong antioxidant and antitumor action, as well as anti-allergy potential.
The investigators further reported that hibiscus tea lowered blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.
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Recipes

Cooking Light:
15 Perfect Pasta Salads
Pasta salad is a perfect dish for versatility; it's easily portable and can be served either hot or cold. Try one of these 15 healthy pasta salad recipes.
How to Cook Chicken Puttanesca
Watch as Allison Fishman makes a superfast version of this favorite Italian recipe—ready in just 20 minutes.
Staff Favorites: Quick Dinners
Even Cooking Light staffers turn to quick and easy ideas during the week. Here are some of our favorite go-to meals.
The Best Gluten-Free Foods
Gluten-free foods are sprouting up everywhere. We reveal our top picks in 10 categories.
MyRecipes.com:
Coconut Curried Pork, Snow Pea, and Mango Stir-Fry
Adding tropical ingredients like chopped mango and coconut milk make this 15-minute stir-fry special. Red curry powder is a blend of coriander, cumin, chiles, and cardamom. Use it to give this quick stir-fry a hint of Thai flavor.
EatingWell:
Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad
Five-spice powder is a Chinese seasoning shortcut combining multiple flavors in one convenient package. Tossed with orange juice and chicken, it makes a terrific salad with a complex, layered taste that belies the simple recipe.
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Potatoes a good choice for gluten-free

(UPI) Most U.S. adults don't know potatoes are an excellent choice for those seeking gluten-free foods, a gluten-free cooking expert says…
"Potatoes are a great choice for people who otherwise have to cut carbs out of their diet," [Jen] Cafferty says in a statement. "Potatoes are a gluten-free dieter's dream. They are fresh, natural and versatile, plus you know your whole family will enjoy them."
One medium-size, skin-on potato contains 110 calories per serving, had more potassium than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol, Cafferty says.
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