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

Study: Obesity may lower cognitive function for aging adults

(CBS News) Older adults who a high body mass index (BMI) and a big belly may have less brain power, according to Korean study.
The study found said out of 250 test subjects involving people over 59 years old, people between 60 and 70 who had the highest BMIs also had the lowest cognitive function. There was also a connection between visceral fat -- otherwise known as the belly fat around your torso -- and poor mental abilities.
"Our findings have important public health implications. The prevention of obesity, particularly central obesity, might be important for the prevention of cognitive decline or dementia," study author Dae Hyun Yoon, a researcher at Seoul National University Hospital Healthcare System in South Korea told BBC News.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Electronic device to stick to diet, exercise

(American Heart Association) Overweight and obese adults who used an electronic diary program on a personal digital assistant did better at staying on diet and physical activity programs, researchers reported…
People using the device, which provided tailored dietary and exercise feedback messages, were more successful in adhering to five treatment factors for weight loss:
·         attending group sessions;
·         meeting daily calorie goals;
·         meeting daily fat intake goals;
·         reaching weekly exercise goals; and
·         monitoring eating and exercise…
Those using the electronic devices did significantly better than those using a paper diary for attendance, self-monitoring and energy and exercise goals.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Before you eat that doughnut . . .

(Tribune Newspapers) There are zillions of tips floating around about how to lose weight, boost your metabolism and stay healthy. We polled registered dietitians and nutritionists to find their top 10:
Eat breakfast: … [S]kipping breakfast slows down your metabolism and encourages weight gain…
Add fiber: Carbs are your friends if they're high in fiber…
Snack attack: Eating a small, healthful snack between meals will help keep your blood sugar stable and your metabolism going strong. You'll also avoid getting overly hungry and overeating at your next meal. ..
Go meatless for a day: People who consume the most meat eat more calories daily and have a greater likelihood of being obese than those who limit the amount of meat they consume…
Try weightlifting: … [I]t is the best exercise for those trying to lose weight…
Stay hydrated: Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headaches and muscle cramping. These symptoms are similar to the symptoms of hunger and may easily be confused with each other. So before you reach for a snack, first drink 8 to 16 ounces of water to see if the symptoms go away…
Always order an appetizer: Dining out doesn't have to sabotage your dieting efforts. Make sure to start with a noncream-based soup or salad, so you are less tempted to dig into the fried calamari that your friend ordered. Plus, you'll be less hungry when your entree arrives…
Pop goes the craving: When you crave a crunchy snack, take a pass on the potato chips and opt for popcorn you air-pop or microwave yourself. Popcorn is high in fiber and low in calories…
Lean meals at night: Dinner should be the leanest meal of the day: high in protein and vegetables, lower in high-calorie carbs…
Alcohol is not off the menu: But be conscious of what you choose. Calories can add up, and moderation is key.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Stronger smell linked to smaller bites

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Want to reduce your portion size? Try eating food that smells good.
A study … has found that people took smaller bites of vanilla custard when it was accompanied by a more intense aroma.
"Smaller bite sizes are known to elicit weaker food sensations, lower flavor release and more satiation," writes lead auhor René de Wijk of the Netherlands' Top Institute Food and Nutrition. Smaller bites, then, could help make people more satisfied with their meal – and want to eat less. Moreover, he adds, "bite sizes become smaller as the consumer becomes satiated." Perhaps there's a virtuous cycle at work.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The more types of foods served, the more you'll eat: study

(Cornell University) The wider the variety of foods served at a meal, the more a person will eat, new Cornell research shows. Conversely, having a "one-pot" dish, such as a soup, pasta, stew or stir-fry, will cut down on the amount of food and calories consumed.
The study, which is the first to show these links, provides additional evidence in a growing body of research that indicates the environment plays a powerful role in determining how much we eat, the authors say.
"It's the only explanation of why we're getting fatter. Our biology has not been changing over the past 40 or 50 years, but our weight certainly has," said David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology at Cornell.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Boost Metabolism with Spicy Foods for Weight Loss

(RealAge.com) Want to boost your metabolism, burn more fat, and lose weight faster? Add spicy fare to your diet.
That's right. Adding spice, such as hot peppers, to your food not only boosts your calorie-burning metabolism, it also curbs your appetite, so you'll eat less at each meal and stay satisfied for longer…
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in such hotties as jalapeno peppers, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce, works in several ways. It seems to prevent "I'm hungry!" messages from reaching your brain. It also activates about 20 different fat-burning proteins, which boost your metabolism so your body burns calories faster. That's not all! We're only getting warmed up about capsaicin's health powers: It may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells, ease pain, prevent heart attacks, kill bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, and more!
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]


Our Most Popular Spring Recipes
Celebrate the start of a new season with our fresh, healthy spring recipes.
Cooking Light:
Spring Clean Your Diet
Fresh fruits and veggies abound during the spring, so make room for these nutritional powerhouses.
Quick Cook Pizzas
Watch Bruce and Mark make Salad Bar Pizza and Barbecued Chicken Pizza using healthy convenience products.
Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto
Intimidated by risotto? You won't be after following this easy, impressive recipe. To make the dish completely meatless, use vegetable broth in place of chicken.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Chia: Not Just For Planters

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Perhaps best known as the source of "fur" on novelty planters called Chia Pets, chia is the highly nutritious seed of a desert plant called Salvia hispanica. An important part of the diet of ancient Aztecs and Mayans, chia seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vital minerals including calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It has a nutty flavor - sprinkle seeds whole or ground on cereal, in yogurt or on salads, or grind and mix them with flour when baking.
Chia is undergoing a well-deserved renaissance, and is widely available in online and in natural food stores. Seek out organic versions and experiment – you'll likely find it a tasty addition to your diet!
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Tonic Water May Ease Leg Cramps

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. I hope you can help me. I have very bad leg cramps during the night. I awaken three or four times some nights and have to walk around…
A. [Try] tonic water. People sensitive to quinine should avoid this beverage, but you may find that a simple glass of tonic can control your leg cramps so you can get some sleep.
If the small amount of quinine in tonic water does not help you, we offer many other home remedies in our Guide to Leg Pain. You can find it in our People's Pharmacy Store along with many other guides, books and products.
Community: The People’s Pharmacy also recommends putting bath soap under the bottom bed sheet to prevent leg cramps. Sounds crazy, but it seems to work.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Loss of Appetite Deciphered in Brain Cell Circuit

(Science Daily) [S]cientists report … about a brain circuit that mediates the loss of appetite in mice. The researchers also discovered potential therapeutic targets within the pathway. Their experimental results may be valuable for developing new treatments for a variety of eating disorders. These include unrelenting nausea, food aversions, and anorexia nervosa, a condition in which a person no longer wants to eat enough to maintain a normal weight…
In this most recent study, the researchers discovered the type and location of brain cells that send signals that agitate the parabrachial nucleus and thereby squelch the ability to eat. They also demonstrate how these signals can be blocked to restore normal appetite and to ward off starvation.
Community: Could this research help do the reverse, as well? Could it help suppress appetite for the vast majority of us who tend to eat too much?
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Raised Cholesterol

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. Recently I have developed a lot of pain in the muscles of my legs. I took glucosamine for two years for joint pains. During that time my cholesterol went from 190 to 247 with no change in my diet.
I was put on a statin medication to bring the cholesterol reading down, and that's when the pain and weakness started in my muscles. Do statins cause weakness? I am no longer on glucosamine, but I don't know which way to turn.
A. Now that you are no longer taking glucosamine, you may not need the statin. Many readers have told us that their cholesterol went up while they used this arthritis remedy and came down after they stopped taking it.
Here are links to some stories not unlike yours.
Ask your doctor if you can stop the cholesterol medicine. Be sure to mention your muscle pain and weakness, which could signal a serious statin side effect. Virtually all statins (atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin, etc) can cause muscle pain and weakness.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Baldness Protein Identified in Research That May Lead to New Treatments

(Bloomberg) Male-pattern baldness may be caused by a protein in the scalp, according to research that raises the possibility drugs being tested by Merck & Co. (MRK) and Actelion Ltd. (ATLN) for other uses might prevent hair loss.
Bald spots had an excessive amount of a protein called prostaglandin D2 or PGD2, according to a study…
Men may be able to regrow all their hair if the inhibiting protein is removed, said George Cotsarelis, chairman of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
“We really do think if you remove the inhibition, you get longer hair,” Cotsarelis, a study author, said in a telephone interview. “We don’t know” if the follicles will return to their former lengths, he said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Doctors Press FDA in Push for Birth Control Without Prescription

(Bloomberg) The Food and Drug Administration is considering expanding the list of drugs that can be bought without a prescription, an opening birth-control advocates are seizing to reignite debate over reproductive rights.
The agency discussed at a hearing yesterday whether cholesterol, asthma, migraine and blood-pressure medications should be sold over-the-counter, a regulatory change intended to lower costs and ease access to drugs for people with chronic ailments. Reproductive-rights advocates today urged that any expansion of nonprescription drugs include birth control.
Amid an election campaign that has at times focused on women’s health, and fewer than four months after the Obama administration overrode the FDA’s support for expanding nonprescription sales of morning-after pills, the hearing was another front in the debate over birth control. Women can determine whether they should use oral contraceptives, and may be better off not seeing a physician, said Eleanor Schwarz, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, in a telephone interview.
Community: I’ve stayed out of the recent birth control brouhaha because this blog is geared toward older people, for whom birth control isn’t such an issue. But it seems there’s an inconsistency in wanting insurance to cover birth control pills and also wanting them to be sold over the counter. Insurance doesn’t usually cover over the counter medications.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Nursing Shortage Is Over in U.S. Until Retirement Glut Hits

(Bloomberg) A nursing shortage in the U.S. that led to a decade-long push for new hires and more graduates in the field is over, at least until 2020 when a glut of retirees will leave a new gap to fill, researchers said…
The increase in the nursing workforce from 2005 to 2010 was the largest of any five-year period during the last 40 years, the authors said…
In the early part of this century, many registered nurses were leaving the profession saying they were overworked, underpaid and unable to provide good patient care, according to a 2002 report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Hospitals responded by encouraging people to become nurses by offering more benefits, signing bonuses, scholarships and tuition reimbursement.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Study: Hospital visits can speed mental decline for elderly

(Gannett News Service) Hospitalizing older people might place them at higher risk for accelerated cognitive decline, according to a new study by researchers at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.
Compared with their previous rate of decline and with that of older people not admitted to a health-care facility, elderly patients saw their cognitive abilities diminish twice as fast, on average, after a hospital stay
“Understanding a link to cognitive decline to something as common as a hospital stay is very important,” says lead author Robert Wilson, a neuropsychologist at Rush. “Hospitals can be a very risky experience for the elderly, and we think people need to understand that.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Court orders FDA to restrict use of antibiotics in livestock

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) The Food and Drug Administration must address the use of antibiotics in livestock, a federal judge in New York has ruled in a lawsuit, a signal that the FDA may soon ban the practice due to longstanding public health concerns.
The ruling favors a coalition of plaintiffs including the Natural Resources Defense Council, which filed suit last May in a bid to push the FDA to exert more control over agricultural use of penicillin and tetracycline, two popular antibiotics used in feed to protect chickens, pigs and cattle from disease and speed their growth.
It’s a practice that goes back decades – even though, back in 1977, the FDA raised concerns that giving healthy animals these constant low doses promotes antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could potentially infect people.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

US House votes to abolish Medicare cost panel

(Reuters) A new Medicare cost-control panel that Republicans said would lead to rationing care for the elderly was voted down by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
The Republican-led House voted 223-181 to abolish the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by President Barack Obama's healthcare law as a way to rein in soaring costs of the Medicare program for the elderly.
The measure, which is unlikely to be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate, was passed one day before the two-year anniversary of the healthcare law, which polling data shows is unpopular with the public.
The move is the latest in a series of attempts by House Republicans to repeal parts of the healthcare law ahead of the November 6 election in which all 435 House seats are up for grabs.
Community: Republicans don’t want to rein in costs? I swear, almost that whole party has gone stark raving nuts.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Health-Care Economies of Scale

(Business Week) Only 1 of 10 cost-control efforts attempted by Medicare over two decades has saved the government money, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in January. Richard Gilfillan, head of the most ambitious attempt yet, says he can get over that very low bar.
Gilfillan runs the $10 billion Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation created by the 2010 U.S. health-care law to identify ways to lower medical costs and improve the quality of care. His solution, now taking shape, is to transfer the job from bureaucrats to companies and private individuals competing in a changing marketplace…
Gilfillan, who ran a local managed-care plan in Pennsylvania before taking on the innovation center job, is optimistic he can overcome skepticism, in part because he doesn’t feel handcuffed by some of the government rules that have weighed down previous cost-cutters. If actuaries for Medicare certify that a program reduces the cost of patient care without affecting quality, Gilfillan’s boss, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, can expand it nationwide under the health-care law without having to get Congress’s permission.
He also doesn’t have to demonstrate that an experiment will be “budget-neutral,” Washington parlance for not requiring any new spending, before he approves a grant for it. “If we find something that can work, we have the ability to spread it rapidly” across Medicare because of the innovation center’s involvement, says Julie Lewis, vice president of health policy for Amedisys, a Baton Rouge (La.)-based company that provides home health care and operates therapy centers.
It’s that independence that concerns the law’s opponents. Something like the innovation center could work, says Representative Charles Boustany, a Louisiana Republican who is a heart surgeon, with “proper oversight and guidelines as to how that money’s actually used.” That’s now lacking, says Boustany, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, which supervises Medicare. “The question is, is that going to end up being a slush fund, where you hand out money to a certain health-care group that you’ve decided you want to benefit?” says Boustany.
Community: I think Boustany has put his finger on the problem. Part of the immense corruption we’re witnessing in our politics is part and parcel of the rush to privatization. I resent having to pay a private company for a copy of my birth certificate. I resent having to contribute to insurance company profits when I buy medigap insurance.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Social Connections Affect Health and Happiness

(U.S. News & World Report) Beginning nearly 40 years ago, social scientists began to look deeply and regularly at the ways people related to other people—spouses, family, friends, and others—and how different people were affected by their own social networks. What they discovered, and have consistently found in later studies, is that the diversity and numbers of our social connections are directly related to our health, happiness, and longevity…
[Sheldon Cohen, a relationship researcher and psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University,] rattles off a list of the ways social ties influence our well-being: "It predicts mortality. It predicts cardiovascular disease. It even predicts the recovery rates from cardiovascular disease. It predicts the progress of cancer. It predicts cognitive function [in later life]. It even predicts the common cold."…
If people in your direct network are happy, the odds of you being happier as well will rise by 20 percent, [Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, coauthors of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives,] say. And if people in the second layer of the network are happy, the odds that you will be happier will rise by 15 percent. The happiness effect in the third degree of removal is 10 percent. The effect is not limited to happiness but can include behavioral influences. For example, if you're gaining weight, it can influence the weights of others in your network.
Weak friendships and even encounters with people you don't know can affect your well-being, according to Karen Fingerman, professor of human development and family science at the University of Texas… Casual acquaintances may also provide strong benefits. "The intimate ties give you a lot of emotional support," Fingerman says, "whereas your peripheral ties may help you with new information and diversions."
Community: I get a lot of good feelings from greeting people I see on my daily walks, especially when I interact with their dogs. People get all warm and fuzzy when you pet and praise their dogs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Why Marriage Makes People Happy

(U.S. News & World Report) Marriage is, for many people, their most important relationship, the source of much happiness, and, for some, even adds extra years to their life. So, what is it about marriage that's so important to us? And what happens within a marriage to produce happiness and well-being?
"Married people overall do better on virtually every indicator of health and well-being," says Robin Simon, a sociology professor and researcher at Wake Forest University. "Even when they get sick, married people are more likely to recover."
Other researchers have found that marriage's well-being advantage has narrowed and perhaps even disappeared compared with other types of living arrangements. The prevalence and social acceptance of unmarried couples and people choosing to live alone have risen a lot in recent years. "Over the last 30 years, the health gap between the married and never-married has narrowed to almost nothing," says Debra J. Umberson, a sociology professor and researcher at the University of Texas.
"I do believe the gap between marriage and cohabitation is not as wide as people think," Simon agrees, although she feels marriage still comes out ahead. "It's really not as much about marriage as having an intimate partner," she says. "In all of my work, marriage is good. Intimacy is good."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

CDC: Only half of first marriages last 20 years

(Vitals, MSNBC.com) Even though Americans are marrying older, the divorce rate has remained high, a new government report shows.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found that the median age for women getting hitched for the first time has risen to almost 26 and to over 28 for men.
Among women there was just a 52 percent chance that a first marriage would survive for 20 years, according to the report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Men appeared to be slightly more successful, with a 56 percent chance of a first marriage surviving for two decades.
The older marriage age doesn’t mean that people aren’t getting into relationships – they’re just choosing to live together instead.  “There’s been a real rise in the prevalence of cohabitation,” said the report’s lead author, Casey E. Copen, a demographer with the National Survey of Family Growth at the National Center for Health Statistics.
Community: I know I’m really bad at math, but how can there be a difference between the number of men and women in a first marriage? Every first marriage, up until recently, had one man and one woman. Every one that failed involved one man and one woman. We haven’t had same sex marriages long enough to affect this statistic.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Women Prize Men Who Try to Understand Their Emotions

(LiveScience) Women can be difficult to understand, some men say, but new empathy research indicates that to keep a woman happy, their partners just need to try to understand their emotions, not necessarily succeed at it.
Men, on the other hand, just want to know whether their significant other is happy. If they notice that their partner is unhappy, and is possibly about to initiate a split, the thought decreases their relationship happiness. Women's happiness, however, is not dampened by a partner's dissatisfied emotions.  
"It could be that for women, seeing that their male partner is upset reflects some degree of the man’s investment and emotional engagement in the relationship, even during difficult times," study researcher Shiri Cohen of Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.
So, the fact their partner is experiencing any emotion, even a negative one, is still good news to women, Cohen said: "This is consistent with what is known about the dissatisfaction women often experience when their male partner becomes emotionally withdrawn and disengaged in response to conflict."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Survey: Marital therapy may increase sex

(UPI) The top reason couples fight is not sex and money, but that neither member feels important or valued by the other, a U.S. survey indicates…
Infidelity was not the top reason couples breakup, but it was cited by the experts as the most toxic from which to recover…
The survey indicated therapy might be good for couples' sex lives -- 80 percent of the respondents said therapy leads their clients to have more sex.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Sex-starved fruit flies turn to drink

(BBC News) Male fruit flies that have been rejected by females drink significantly more alcohol than those that have mated freely, scientists say.
In an article in Science, researchers suggest that alcohol stimulates the flies' brains as a "reward" in a similar way to sexual conquest.
The work points to a brain chemical called neuropeptide F, which seems to be regulated by the flies' behaviour. Human brains have a similar chemical, which may react in a similar way.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

8 Steps to Mend a Broken Heart

(U.S. News & World Report) Getting over a broken heart is never easy, especially in the social networking age, when photos of you and your ex in happier times remain plastered on your friends' Facebook pages. Worse, recent research suggests that romantic rejection can cause physical pain in a way that no other negative emotion—not even anger or fear—can.
But it's actually good to go through the insane despair and bouts of endless tears that result from being dumped, contends bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Piver. We should embrace these feelings rather than run from them, she argues in her book, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. "As unlikely as it may sound, this sorrow is the gateway to lasting happiness," she writes, speaking of her own two-year experience recovering from heartbreak. Piver and other experts described ways to ride through those uninvited waves of grief.
1. Make friends with your heartbreak… "It takes a lot of courage to be sad," says Piver, "but a fantastic life is not one that is placidly happy." With grieving comes increased awareness: of what's truly important to you; whom you love; who loves you…
2. Deal appropriately with negative thoughts. Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind and help deal with the tendency to beat yourself up for things going wrong, says Piver, a practicing Buddhist. Another approach when negative thoughts are running endlessly through your mind is to get up and do something else…
3. Turn up the radio. Science suggests that music has a therapeutic effect. (No, not that breakup album with the sad, lovesick songs.) Blare some of your favorite, feel-good tunes…
4. Know the difference between grief and depression… How to tell the difference? In depression, nothing seems to matter, Piver writes, whereas with sadness, everything does. A telltale sign that depression is setting in is that you ruminate nonstop about the breakup, and " you cannot stop your mind from tormenting you with very painful thoughts," Piver says.
5. Feel some kindness toward your ex… Although that seems counterintuitive and next to impossible, the process of extending your heart to someone whom you have no intention of loving ever again, she says, can actually bring feelings of stability and peace to your inner mind. You don't need to forgive or forget your ex's past transgressions or stay in touch… Your focus should be on letting go of anger…
6. Write the story of your relationship. Do it from the third-person point of view in three different writing sessions. First, tell about how this woman met this man and how they fell in love. Then write about the love story and how it started going south. Finally, tell the story of the breakup… You might also gain some valuable revelations: what you miss about the relationship and what you don't.
7. Steer clear of the self-help section… "Don't try to come up with reasons on why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Allow yourself to feel heartbreak—that's what actually gets us over it."
8. Give love. Perhaps at no other time than post-breakup do we want love so much, Piver says. But instead of desperately searching, give love, to anyone, in any situation. "There's always a chance of loving," Piver says. "That is how you balance the sorrow and rage from the heartbreak you're dealing with—by giving love to whatever situation or person you are interacting with. That is the secret."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Steps to Feeling Happier

(RealAge.com) Are you happy? It's such an important question because happiness has such a huge impact on your health, from your arteries to your heart, from the glow in your skin to the pep in your step. Happy feelings influence your brain and body chemistry in ways that make you better able to cope with pain and stress and to fend off colds, flu, heart disease, and even cancer. Follow these steps to help make yourself happier, day in and day out and your RealAge up to 5.2 years younger!
Believe in Yourself…
Hang Out with Happy Friends…
Make Time for Play…
Squash Negativity…
Connect with Others…
Keep a Gratitude Journal…
Lend a Helping Hand…
Enjoy the Great Outdoors…
Turn On Some Tunes
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

13 Fool-Proof Ways to Get Happier

(U.S. News & World Report) How can we truly feel happy when life gets tough? U.S. News posed this question to leading happiness researchers to find out what strategies we can employ to stay upbeat. While it's true that some lucky folks are born with sunny dispositions, others, according to a growing body of research, can learn to be happy. How?
"We need to move away from the concept of trying to fill our days with frequent pleasurable moments and fewer negative moments," explains Todd Kashdan, a professor of positive psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. "What truly provides satisfaction is having a meaning and purpose in life, which is doubly important in the midst of this current economic nightmare." Here are 13 other secrets:
1. Spend $20 on an experience rather than an item…
2. Pursue meaningful life goals…
3. Be open to what's happening right now, in the moment…
4. Nurture meaningful relationships…
5. Recognize your strengths…
6. Count your blessings…
7. Keep an optimism journal… "Every time something bad happens, think of one positive side to it," she suggests. "It's really hard at first, but then it gets easier."
8. Seek advice from your neighbor…
9. Get out and sweat…
10. Do unto others…
11. Meditate…
12. Have in-depth conversations…
13. Turn up the tunes.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]


Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce
Panko is the secret ingredient that makes these oven-fried fish fillets a family favorite. For sustainability reasons, be sure to choose Alaskan cod, or substitute halibut or even tilapia.
Plank-Grilled Salmon with Creamy Tarragon Sauce
Grilling salmon on a cedar plank imparts a deliciously smoky flavor to the fish. The tarragon cream sauce uses low-in-saturated-fat Greek-style yogurt. Look for cedar planks with other grilling supplies in supermarkets or hardware stores.
Cooking Light:
40 Meals Under 40 Minutes
Use this meal-planner guide to find menus that suit your weeknight fancy, and voilà: faster, healthier weeknight eating for your entire family.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Mediterranean Couscous
Couscous is a type of pasta that can be prepared in an instant. It's done as soon as the "grains" soak up the hot liquid. This version, with its traditional Mediterranean flavors, is a wonderful accompaniment to fish and a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese. Once you make this dish, you'll find yourself wanting to experiment with other flavorful additions to couscous.
Food as Medicine
Tomatoes, which are featured in this recipe, provide lycopene, which may help protect against prostate, breast and pancreatic cancers.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Quality protein helps fight aging

(UPI) Raising daily protein intake can help fend off age-related muscle mass loss, while exercise keeps muscles and bones strong, a U.S. registered dietitian said…
A healthy diet rich in quality protein helps minimize muscle loss and experts recommend the average adult consume .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight -- although for older individuals that benchmark jumps to nearly .7 grams. For example, for someone who weighs 154 pounds, the .7 gram of protein translates into about 4 ounces of recommended daily protein.
A 4-ounce piece of grilled trout provides roughly 28 grams of protein, [Lona] Sandon said.
It is important to consider the quality of the protein, like that packed with essential amino acids -- lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, cheese and yogurt -- Sandon said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Safeway, Supervalu to stop buying "pink slime" beef

(Reuters) Two of the biggest U.S. supermarket operators, Safeway Inc and Supervalu Inc, will stop buying the ammonia-treated beef product critics call "pink slime" because of customer concerns, the companies said on Wednesday.
The halt by the No. 2 and No. 3 supermarket chains is a fresh blow to use of the ground beef product, also known as lean finely textured beef, which has drawn criticism from food activists…
Among other retailers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc said in a statement its Walmart and Sam's Club units would start to offer fresh ground beef that did not contain lean finely textured beef.
The Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket chain, said it carried ground beef with and without lean finely textured beef.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

6 Powerful Health-Boosting Foods

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Dr. Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Wake-Up Call, recommends a wide variety of delicious fresh foods in a rainbow of colors to get the maximum antioxidants and other disease-fighting nutrients. A few foods are true standouts, packing in exceptional amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, including plant compounds called phytochemicals, which can help lower your risk for numerous health conditions, including cancer and heart disease. Start incorporating these top nutrient-packed foods into your Meal Plans.
1.    Tomatoes…: Studies show that eating tomato products may reduce prostate cancer risk…
2.    Spinach and other dark leafy greens…: Research shows that eating dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard (which are technically cruciferous vegetables), may help maintain good health by reducing one’s risk of heart disease, some cancers, and several other illnesses…
3.    Walnuts…: Like all nuts, walnuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Unlike other nuts, however, walnuts are high in heart-healthy omega-3 oils, which have been shown to possess antioxidant properties…
4.    Blueberries…: Studies show that a number of antioxidant compounds in blueberries, including pigment-producing anthocyanins, are powerful in helping to prevent cancer…
5.    Pomegranates…:  Recent studies show that pomegranate juice … may help protect against heart disease.
6.    Sweet potatoes…: [S]weet potatoes can help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, fight cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and boost your resistance to colds and infections.
Community: Blueberries may also help prevent hardening of the arteries.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Blood Test May Give Early Warning on Heart Attack, Study Finds

(Bloomberg) A simple blood test may be able to tell patients if they’re in imminent danger of having a heart attack, a new study suggests.
Researchers compared blood samples of 50 heart attack patients with 44 healthy volunteers, and found a much higher level of abnormal circulating endothelial cells, or CECs, according to the study…
Endothelial cells line blood vessels and control the ability of arteries and veins to widen and prevent clots. The heart attack patients in the study had, on average, fivefold more abnormally shaped versions of these cells, with multiple nuclei, circulating in their blood than the healthy patients.
The discovery may tell doctors if someone has a crack or plaque rupture in an artery, which can lead to clot formation and heart attack, said Eric Topol, the study’s principal investigator.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Cured meat tied to more COPD hospitalizations

(Reuters Health) Among people with COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, those who eat a lot of cured meats are more likely to end up in the hospital a second time, Spanish researchers have found.
COPD is often caused by smoking, but earlier work has shown a large intake of cured meats like hot dogs and ham is also linked to development of the lung disease.
While there is still no proof that such products actually cause COPD, the new research supports dietary recommendations to cut back on their consumption, said Judith Garcia-Aymerich of the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, who led the new study.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New drug promises relief from aspirin-related ulcers

(Reuters) Millions of aspirin users may soon be able to pop the wonder pill without worrying about stomach ulcers, a nasty side-effect that could come with regular use of the drug.
Pozen Inc, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, on Thursday said its experimental therapy helped significantly reduce stomach ulcers in long-term aspirin users, like those with heart problems.
Community: Scientists are also testing a new form of aspirin that doesn’t cause bleeding.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

U.S. women overcharged $1B for healthcare

(UPI) U.S. women are overcharged $1 billion a year for the same health insurance coverage sold to men because they are women, a non-profit group calculated.
The study by the National Women's Law Center in Washington analyzed the advertised premiums for men and women based on average current advertised premiums. Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, said the study found that in states that have not banned gender rating, 92 percent of best-selling plans charge women more than men, even though the vast majority of these plans do not cover maternity services…
The report found insurance companies -- despite being aware of the discriminatory practices -- have not voluntarily eliminated the inequities. However, Greenberger said in a statement, the overcharging will end with the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits gender discrimination.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Health insurance rate hikes in nine states deemed excessive by HHS

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced [Thursday] that health insurance premium increases in nine states have been deemed “unreasonable” under the rate review authority granted by the Affordable Care Act.
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act consumers are no longer in the dark about their health insurance premiums," said Secretary Sebelius.  "Now, insurance companies are required to justify rate increases of 10 percent or higher.  It’s time for these companies to immediately rescind these unreasonable rate hikes, issue refunds to consumers or publicly explain their refusal to do so."
Secretary Sebelius also released a new report … showing that, six months after HHS began reviewing proposed health insurance rate increases, consumers are already seeing results.  Since the rate review program took effect in 2011, health insurers have proposed fewer double-digit rate increases. Furthermore, more states have taken an active role in reducing rate increases, and consumers in all states are getting straight answers from their insurance companies when their rates are raised by 10 percent or more.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Are Psychiatric Medications Making Us Sicker?

(John Horgan, Scientific American) I first took a close look at treatments for mental illness in the mid-1990s while researching an article for Scientific American. At the time, sales of a new class of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, were booming. The first SSRI, Prozac, had quickly become the most widely prescribed drug in the world. Many psychiatrists, notably Peter Kramer, author of the bestseller Listening to Prozac (Viking 1993), touted SSRIs as a revolutionary advance in the treatment of mental illness…
Clinical trials told a different story. SSRIs are no more effective than two older classes of antidepressants, tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. What was even more surprising to me—given the rave reviews Prozac had received from Kramer and others–was that antidepressants as a whole were not more effective than so-called “talking cures,” whether cognitive behavioral therapy or even old-fashioned Freudian psychoanalysis, according to investigators…
In retrospect, my critique of modern psychiatry was probably too mild. According to Anatomy of [an] Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, psychiatry has not only failed to progress; it may now be harming many of those it purports to help…
A caveat is in order here. Whitaker does NOT claim that medications have no value and that no one should take them. In his talk at my school, as in his book, Whitaker acknowledged that many people benefit from psychopharmacology, especially over the short term. But he does believe that the drugs should be administered far more sparingly.
Community: There are many practical things we can try to prevent or relieve depression that don’t involve medication.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]