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

Smoking, More Lethal than HIV

(MedPage Today) Smoking kills. And among people with well-controlled HIV, that old slogan is even more true, researchers reported.
In a large case-control study, smokers with HIV had substantially higher rates of all-cause and non-AIDS mortality than HIV-positive nonsmokers, according to Marie Helleberg, MD, of Copenhagen University Hospital, and colleagues.
Also, HIV-infected smokers lost more life-years to smoking than to HIV-related causes, Helleberg and colleagues reported.
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Smoking bans = fewer hospital visits

(UPI) Hospital admissions for acute heart attacks fall about 20 percent 36 months after restaurant, bar and workplace smoking bans, U.S. researchers say…
In addition to fewer heart attack admissions, admission rates for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease fell 11 percent where workplace smoking bans were in place and 15 percent where bar smoking bans were present.
However, there was very little effect found for hospitalization for gastrointestinal hemorrhage and hip fracture -- two conditions largely unrelated to smoking and examined as points of comparison.
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Smokers’ Risk of Sudden Death Drops After Quitting

(MedPage Today) Smokers are at risk for sudden cardiac death, but quitting can reduce that risk over time to levels seen among those who never smoked, an analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study showed.
Through a follow-up of 30 years, the risk of sudden cardiac death was significantly greater among smokers when compared with those who never smoked…
Past smokers also had an elevated risk overall…, although it steadily declined with an increasing duration of cessation, reaching a level of risk within 20 years that was comparable to risk of those who never smoked, the researchers reported.
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Quitting smoking 'reduces anxiety'

(BBC News) Smokers who successfully quit feel less anxious afterwards - despite the belief that smoking relieves stress, researchers say. The British Journal of Psychiatry study followed nearly 500 smokers attending NHS stop smoking clinics in England.
The British Journal of Psychiatry study followed nearly 500 smokers attending NHS stop smoking clinics in England. It found a "significant" decrease in anxiety levels among the 68 smokers who had quit after six months.
The effect was greater among those who had mood and anxiety disorders than those that smoked for pleasure.
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More Recent News and Research on Smoking Addiction

(The News Herald) It may take four to 11 times to completely quit smoking, [said Lisa Rahn, Healthy Bay coordinator for the Bay County Health Department], but she said there are ways to increase your chances of success… “Having a quit plan in place can dramatically increase your chance of success, and other tobacco cessation resources are community classes/support groups.”
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) During the holiday season, many people decide to improve their lives and health by making resolutions. These resolutions can take many forms: exercising more, losing weight, or getting more sleep. If you are a smoker, a key resolution you can make this year is to quit smoking. Start by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to get free advice and support in helping you to quit now.
Community: Click the title line, above for links to more resources for quitting smoking.
(American Medical News) Some insurers require a related health condition before covering efforts to stop smoking. Others pay for them only when recommended by a physician.
(Shots, NPR) In a switch, Medicare began covering smoking cessation counseling for smokers without symptoms of disease back in 2010. Beneficiaries are eligible for up to two four-session smoking cessation counseling attempts a year.
(Shots, NPR) A review of studies published by the Cochrane Collaboration finds that smokers trying to quit the habit are helped in a big way by supportive messages sent via text… With help from text messages, hopeful quitters actually doubled their chance of success… Nationwide, private groups and a number of state and local health departments are working to create new, online texting-support systems for smokers who want to kick the habit.
(Science Daily) A medication being tested to help smokers kick the habit also may help avoid the weight gain that is common after quitting but only in women, according to a study… This is the first medication shown to reduce weight gain for up to one year in women smokers who quit.
More . . .

Recent Research on Alcohol Addiction

(UPI) An average of about 30 people a day in 2010 in U.S. motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver, federal health officials say. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said this amounts to one death every 48 minutes and the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totaled more than $51 billion a year.
(Reuters Health) Many people convicted of drunk driving may have a lifelong struggle with risky drinking habits, a new study suggests… "A DWI conviction identifies people at risk," said study leader Dr. Sandra C. Lapham, of the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "It's a red flag," she said in an interview, "and it's an opportunity to intervene."
(Science Daily) An innovative alcohol monitoring program imposed upon thousands of alcohol-involved offenders in South Dakota helps reduce repeat DUI arrests and domestic violence arrests, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Examining the first six years of South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Project, researchers found that frequent alcohol testing with swift and moderate sanctions for those caught using alcohol reduced county-level repeat DUI arrests by 12 percent and domestic violence arrests by 9 percent.
(UPI) Forty million U.S. teens and adults are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs, but few get treatment, a non-profit group found… The report found 7-in-10 people with diseases like hypertension, major depression and diabetes receive treatment, but only about 1-in-10 people with addiction involving alcohol or other drugs receive treatment. Of those who do receive treatment, most do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care -- treatment based on the best research.
(Reuters Health) Health providers should screen all adults and pregnant women for risky drinking habits, a government-backed expert panel said.
(Addiction) A study of 48 German families … reveals that after twelve months of treatment, family costs directly related to a family member’s alcoholism decreased from an average of €676.44 (£529.91, US$832.26) per month to an average of €145.40 (£113.90, $178.89) per month.  Put another way, average costs attributable to alcoholism decreased from 20.2% to 4.3% of the total pre-tax family income… Also, after twelve months of treatment, the average amount of time spent caring for the affected family member dropped from 32.2 hours per month to 8.2 hours per month
(MedPage Today) Behavioral interventions for alcohol misuse encourage patients to drink less, especially if the programs are done in short sessions with several healthcare professionals, researchers found… Brief, multi-contact interventions -- typically involving 10- to 15-minute meetings with clinicians and brief phone follow-up with nurses -- appeared to be most effective.
More . . .

Recent News and Research on Other Addictions

(Reuters Health) Possibly driven by a surge in painkiller abuse, the number of drug and alcohol problems diagnosed by U.S. doctors increased by 70 percent between 2001 and 2009, according to new research.
(Reuters Health) Real-time prescription data appear to have helped Canadian pharmacists stop "doctor shoppers" from getting excessive amounts of opioid painkillers and tranquilizers, according to a new study.
(Reuters) The United States sees drug abuse as a public health problem as much as a crime issue and is seeking to learn from countries in Europe and elsewhere about how to treat addiction as a disease, Barack Obama's drugs policy chief said.
(U.S. News & World Report) IA new documentary takes viewers through 40 years of what it calls a failed drug war, featuring the voices of two former presidents who say America's drug policies are all wrong. Breaking the Taboo … is narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, who lauds people like former president Bill Clinton who "have had the guts to change their minds."
(Los Angeles Times) For decades, 12-step programs and a medication-free approach have dominated the recovery industry. But now doctors and scientists and the leader of the National Institute on Drug Abuse are pushing for broad recognition of addiction as a disease and more medical approaches to therapy.
(University of Adelaide) In a major breakthrough, an international team of scientists has proven that addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked, while at the same time increasing pain relief… Laboratory studies have shown that the drug (+)-naloxone (pronounced: PLUS nal-OX-own) will selectively block the immune-addiction response. The results… could eventually lead to new co-formulated drugs that assist patients with severe pain, as well as helping heroin users to kick the habit.
(Angela Garcia, Los Angeles Times) [E]ven the most effective anti-addiction vaccine can't cure the underlying factors that make people prone to using drugs, including poverty, violence and lack of opportunity. Rather, the vaccines are aimed at preventing a drug user from experiencing the pleasure associated with a particular drug. When a mouse no longer feels pleasure from a drug because of a vaccine, it doesn't have the option of turning to another pleasure-producing substance. But humans do. A vaccine against pleasure derived from one kind of drug use might well spawn other forms of pleasure-seeking, especially when the drugs were being used in an attempt to relieve suffering.
(Purdue University) Blacks who feel mistreated and discriminated against are more likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs, and a new study from Purdue University shows this usage can become a problematic pattern.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Croque Monsieur
Similar to a Monte Cristo, a croque monsieur is a French-style grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped in egg batter then cooked in a skillet. This version is like a savory stuffed French toast. Keep the finished ones warm in a 200° oven while cooking the others.
EatingWell:
Chicken with Red Pepper Cream Sauce
In this healthy chicken with red pepper cream sauce recipe, roasted red pepper and chipotle give this creamy sauce a beautiful red hue and give it a slightly sweet and smoky flavor. The sauce can be made ahead, then served with seared chicken, as we do in this recipe, or with grilled fish or ravioli.
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Pork 101

(The Supermarket Guru) How to Use: Roast hams, shoulder cuts or loins; broil or pan fry chops; smoke or grill ribs. Bake or fry bacon; grill or fry sausages; fry ground patties or sausages or mix with other ground meat and bake. Cook to an inner temperature of 150-165°F. Never eat raw.
How to Store: Refrigerate at 40°F. in original wrapping; always refrigerate cooked pork. May be frozen in original wrappers or double wrapped. Store canned hams in a cool cupboard or refrigerate. Always refrigerate opened cans and leftovers.
Health Benefits: Roasts, loin cuts lower in fat than bacon and sausages. Higher in fat, traditional pork has extra minerals and iron. Cured, smoked products are typically high in sodium.
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12 Superfoods to Help You Eat Healthy for $1 or Less

(Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., EatingWell) LOTS of foods, many of which are stocked in nearly every grocery store in America, are “superfoods.”
The added bonus to eating more of these easy-to-find super-healthy foods? They won’t break the bank. In fact, I’ve rounded up 12 of my favorite healthy foods that each clock in at under a dollar per serving.
1.    Lentils…
2.    Oats…
3.    Kale…
4.    Almonds…
5.    Tea…
6.    Oranges…
7.    Tuna…
8.    Peanut Butter…
9.    Apples…
10.  Eggs…
11.  Carrots…
12.  Cabbage
Read more, including health benefits.
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Cheap Healthy Eats: Canned Foods

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Looking for a cost-effective way to get nutritional foods into your diet? Consider canned foods. Freshly canned foods offer a convenient and economical alternative to fresh foods, and can provide nutritional benefits from seasonal items all year round.
Before you start perusing the canned goods section, however, keep in mind that canned foods are often high in sodium, so always choose no- or low-sodium versions. Also, a recent study indicates that daily intake of canned soup appears to raise levels of BPA, an endocrine disruptor, dramatically for short periods, so choose jarred soup over canned soup if possible.
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CDC: Seasonal flu rising sharply

(UPI) Influenza activity -- earlier and more severe than usual -- is widespread and at high levels in the United States, federal health officials say.
During the week of Dec. 23, U.S. influenza activity increased -- of 9,363 specimens tested, 32 percent were positive for influenza. Region Five, comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, reported the highest rate, with 58 percent of samples taken by doctors testing positive for influenza…
The circulating strains continue to be well matched to the strains in the seasonal flu vaccine.
The CDC recommends all people six months and older get a flu vaccine.
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Flu, Colds, and Other Bugs: How to Stay Well During Virus Season

(RealAge.com) Follow our six basic YOU Docs rules for boosting your immunity. They'll help you stay well in the first place.
1.     Get enough ZZZs. You need 7 1/2 to 8 hours of shuteye. Every night!
2.    Get enough vitamin D3. Take 1,000 IU a day; 1,200 after age 60.
3.    Get your ahhhs. Both periods of big stress (e.g., the holidays) and quick hits (e.g., parking rage) take a toll. Carve out 10 minutes a day for meditation, deep breathing, and serene stretching. Don't let stress get the best of you.
4.    Walk. It keeps your body humming and your head clear.
5.    Eat and drink like a smart personThese 5 foods will give you an edge.
6.    Wash your hands. Scrub 100 times a day. Okay, 150.
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Copying common in electronic medical records

(Reuters Health) Most doctors copy and paste old, potentially out-of-date information into patients' electronic records, according to a new study looking at a shortcut that some experts fear could lead to miscommunication and medical errors…
Many electronic recordkeeping systems allow text to be copied and pasted from previous notes and other documents, a shortcut that could help time-crunched doctors but that could also cause mistakes to be passed along or medical records to become indecipherable, critics argue.
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Analysis: Entering the age of the $1 million medicine

(Reuters) The Western world's first drug to fix faulty genes promises to transform the lives of patients with an ultra-rare disease that clogs their blood with fat. The only snag is the price.
The gene therapy for lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD), a hereditary disorder that raises the risk of potentially lethal inflammation of the pancreas, is likely to cost more than $1 million per patient when it goes on sale in Europe this summer.
Rare or so-called orphan diseases are winning unprecedented attention from drug developers. More than a quarter of the 39 new medicines approved in the United States last year were designated for such conditions.
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Pancreatic, other dire cancers get a legislative nudge

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Deep in the fine print of a $633-billion defense bill signed by President Obama on Wednesday, a provision aimed at the National Cancer Institute may hasten the development of earlier detection and treatment methods for deadly malignancies such as pancreatic cancer.
The Defense Authorization Act signed into law Jan. 2 carried along the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, a measure pressed by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Lung Cancer Alliance to shift the focus of the federal government's cancer research toward malignancies with poor early-detection and low survival rates…
Within six months, the NCI's director must identify two or more cancers that claim the lives of at least 30,000 patients a year in the United States and have a five-year survival rate lower than 20%, and convene a special working group to help shape research and provide expertise.
Community: I guess we’re not supposed to ask why a cancer research funding bill was part of the defense appropriations bill.
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U.S. Clears DNA Firm's Acquisition by Chinese

(New York Times) The federal government has given national security clearance to the controversial purchase of an American DNA sequencing company by a Chinese firm…
Some scientists, politicians and industry executives had said the takeover represented a threat to American competitiveness in DNA sequencing, a technology that is becoming crucial for the development of drugs, diagnostics and improved crops.
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UnitedHealth Retail Stores Sell Insurance With a Smile

(Bloomberg) The next big thing in health insurance may be on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, New York.
There, tucked between a drugstore and a mobile phone center, is the storefront where UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) is learning to sell health insurance to consumers the way other companies sell shoes, office supplies or iPhones.
The experiment by UnitedHealth, the biggest U.S. medical insurer, is designed to help the company compete in anticipation of sweeping changes under the new health-care law. By 2014, as many as 85 million consumers, representing $600 billion in purchasing power, may be shopping for their own health care on public and private exchanges, according to a November report from Oliver Wyman, a New York-based management consulting firm. To get ready, insurance providers are striving to bolster their reputations for customer service.
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How to Avoid Diseases and Needless Aging

(RealAge.com) Protect Your Heart
Gain more control over your cardiovascular health by eating a diet low in saturated fat and sugar, working out regularly, and not smoking. For extra heart protection, follow these steps:
Include fish in your meals each week…
Stay active during your downtime…
Meet your daily requirement for magnesium…
Protect Against Cancer...
Make sure you're doing all you can to protect against cancer by eating a balanced and varied diet, exercising regularly, avoiding common carcinogens, and getting regular health screenings. Start with these risk-reducing tips:
Supplement your diet with vitamin D…
Fill half your plate with colorful vegetables…
Protect Your Mind and Spirit
Chronic stress can rob you of health and happiness. By hindering your immune system response, stress makes you more susceptible to infection, disease, and other health conditions and can cause wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. Stress also causes spikes in blood pressure, which could cause premature aging of the cardiovascular system. To neutralize these damaging effects, try to identify what stresses you, and then develop strategies to help you cope with these situations. Start with these steps:
Leave job stress at the office…
Set meaningful life goals…
Slip some humor-packed pastimes into your weekly schedule…
BONUS STEP:
Actively patrol your health and see your doctors on a regular basis.
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Focus on healthy aging in 2013

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Exercise is one of the healthiest things you can do as you age. To see why, watch this brief video, “Why It’s Important for Older Adults to Exercise.” For examples of exercises that older adults can try, visit Go4Life® the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.
Eating high nutrient foods also contributes to healthy aging. Watch “Choosing Nutrient Dense Foods” to see what foods can provide you with the highest quality nutrition as you age. Also, check out this quiz to learn which foods you should limit. 
Seeing your doctor or healthcare provider regularly is an important part of protecting your health as you age. Watch “What to Share with Your Doctor” and “What to Ask Your Doctor” for tips on communicating effectively with your healthcare provider.
This information was developed for NIHSeniorHealth by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
Community: In addition to regular doctor checkups, Reader’s Digest has two sets of checkups you can perform at home: “7 Home Health Checks That Can Save Your Life” and “16 Ways to Monitor Your Health.” The earlier we detect problems, the more likely we can prevent them getting worse. And see also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “5 Healthy Tips for 2013.”
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Get Healthier With Resources In Your Own Community

(Reader’s Digest) There are multitudes of community-based opportunities for improving your overall health, your fitness, and your diet. Open your eyes and look around to see where those opportunities are. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Join a public pool or a local YMCA. For a minimal membership fee, most Ys or health clubs will allow you access to their pools so you can swim laps or take a water aerobics class…
Sign up for group strength-training classes at a local gym or through a continuing education program…
Get personal with your own trainer. Another way to tap into strength training is to find a certified personal trainer who has a local studio, works in your health club, or will come to your home. Many trainers offer family, pair, or small-group training at more affordable price…
Take a healthy cooking class. Look for courses through local community colleges or high school continuing education programs…
Visit a local meal-assembly store to get “homemade” meals in a hurry. Companies that let you assemble your own meals from fresh or frozen ingredients already laid out for you are cropping up all over the country… Try searching online under meal assembly and your city, look in your newspaper’s food section, or search through the vendors listed on www.easymealprep.com to see if there’s one in your area.
Treat yourself to weekly trips to the farmers’ market. You’ll find the freshest fruits and vegetables there, and some interesting varieties you won’t find at the grocery store… Look in your local paper, call your city hall, or visit www.localharvest.org to search for markets near you.
Sign up for a yoga class at a local center or YMCA. It’s another great way to lower stress…
Head for a place of worship. Following their faith helps many people put stressors in place by reminding them of what really matters in life…
Community: You don’t have to belong to a religion to be spiritual.
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Gene Variant Linked to Human Longevity

(Science Daily) A variant of a gene associated with active personality traits in humans seems to also be involved with living a longer life, UC Irvine and other researchers have found.
This derivative of a dopamine-receptor gene -- called the DRD4 7R allele -- appears in significantly higher rates in people more than 90 years old and is linked to lifespan increases in mouse studies…
"While the genetic variant may not directly influence longevity," [researcher Robert] Moyzis said, "it is associated with personality traits that have been shown to be important for living a longer, healthier life. It's been well documented that the more you're involved with social and physical activities, the more likely you'll live longer. It could be as simple as that."
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More Recent News and Tips on Healthy Aging

(InsuranceQuotes.org) In our everyday life from the day we are born, we face a number of safety and health issues. From the dangers stemming from our curiosity as a toddler to the dangers we face in our later years, the world can be a hazardous place. While health and safety dangers occur at all ages, it is especially true for senior citizens.
(U.S. News & World Report) In one of the nicest imaginable holiday gifts to seniors, a new study backed by MetLife finds that healthy people who age successfully during their 50s, 60s, and 70s—and that's most of us—retain their abilities to make complex financial decisions and, in some cases, may improve skills as they age.
(Reuters) U.S. men looking for the best place to find happiness, health and a good quality of life might consider heading to Boise, Idaho, or San Jose and San Francisco in northern California. The three western U.S. cities top the list of the 100 best towns for men in a new ranking compiled by Men's Health magazine, while Charleston, West Virginia, Philadelphia and Birmingham, Alabama are considered the worst… Boise, which jumped from fifth place last year, scored high marks for the physical and mental health of its residents, its low crime rate and short commuting times - an average of just 18 minutes.
Healthy Living sifted through the research to let you know the five beauty trends we saw this year that are just plain bad for you: Keratin Straightening Systems… Black Market Butt Injections… Tanning… Fish Spa Pedicures… Bikini Waxes.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Contrary to what many women believe, menopause doesn’t lead to weight gain. Instead, the drop in estrogen redirects the process of fat storage in women from the hips to the abdomen, according to a review… This change in the location of accumulating fat isn’t just cosmetic. It also increases women’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.
(Consumer Reports) New Year's Day is notable for resolutions. If a healthier diet is on your list, just choosing the right foods isn't enough; how you prepare your meals can be just as important as what you put in your shopping cart, according to Bonnie Taub-Dix, a nutrition expert and author of "Read It Before You Eat It".
(Reuters) After interviewing food historians, scholars, cooks, doctors, activists and consumers for his new film "Soul Food Junkies," filmmaker Byron Hurt concluded that an addiction to soul food is killing African-Americans at an alarming rate.
(Reuters Health) Kids given a combination of cheese and vegetables will eat only about a quarter as many calories as those given potato chips, according to a new study… The findings may not be surprising, but they suggest that swapping out potato chips for cheese or vegetables then might help reduce the amount of calories kids eat at snack time, said Adam Brumberg, one of the authors of the study.
Community: We older kids will do better eating healthier snacks, also.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Fiery Beef and Rice Noodle Salad
Think salads aren't filling? Then you haven't tried this one packed with rice noodles, fresh vegetables, and tender steak.
EatingWell:
Shrimp Fried Rice
This healthy shrimp fried rice recipe is packed with vegetables and makes 4 generous servings.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Miso Soup
If you haven't tried to make this Japanese version of chicken soup, you are missing out! It is a flavorful, versatile soup that is healthy and full of antioxidants - perfect for cold weather. Try it today!
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Food as Medicine

From Reader’s Digest:
5 Spices for Better Health
Some spices are much more than just flavor enhancers.
Onions
Learn more about onion, one of the richest sources of chromium, and how it improves the body's ability to respond to insulin.
Fish
Learn how fish keeps you healthy, and discover how to reap the rewards.
Brown Rice
Brown rice is a far better choice for your blood sugar than white rice. 
Sweet Potatoes
These sweet-tasting super-spuds hold a real healthy surprise. 
Nuts
Nuts are good for blood glucose maintenance, and will help you beat a host of health ailments.
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Food Trends: Small, Simple, Fresh and Healthy

(Appetite for Health) People want to eat “smaller” – not necessarily smaller as in less but smaller as in locally grown and as in fresh, as opposed to shipped in from far away, in big bulk and highly processed, explains Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions, a consumer research group. “Consumers want the food they buy demystified,” she said in an interview with USA Today. “They want to be able to pronounce the names of all the product ingredients. And they want to know where it comes from – ideally, locally. Nothing sells like pure and simple.”
Studies by the NPD Group, a consumer and market research enterprise, show that healthy eating is becoming a top priority, especially among aging baby boomers. Faced with multiple age- and lifestyle-related health threats, the boomers will continue their search for the fountain of youth, or at least will do whatever it takes to slow their decline. By 2015, this generation will be responsible for half of all the money spent on groceries in this country, and much of that will be on health food, the NPD Group predicts.
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In 5 Years, Your Computer Will Customize Healthy Meals That Appeal To Your Taste Buds

(Co.Exist) It’s Sunday morning, and you’re deciding what to make for brunch. You could just make something up or look through a cookbook, but instead you decide to let your computer do the work. And so it does, using its knowledge of what flavors appeal to you on a molecular level to spit out a recipe for a healthy meal that has just that perfect amount of sweet and salty for your finicky taste buds.
That’s not science fiction; it’s a scenario that could become reality in just five years. Every year, IBM puts out its 5 in 5, a list of five innovations that could change our lives in the next five years. This year, the company focused on the ways that cognitive computing--where computers learn through experience like humans--will change the world.
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California's Newest Business Craze: Homemade Food

(Business Week) Granola makers, homemade vinegar producers, and other foodies in California have cause to rejoice today. As of Jan. 1, a new state law allows people who make food at home to sell it to restaurants and grocery stores.
Leave it to California to upend decades of public health consensus that food businesses need commercial licenses to ensure their food is safe and free of harmful contaminants. The California Homemade Food Act creates a new category of food production called a “cottage food operation.”
To qualify for a state permit under the law, aspiring cottage food operators must attend a food safety class and pass an exam developed by the California Department of Public Health. They have to label their products, pay a small fee, and submit to an annual kitchen inspection by health officials.
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Is Your Cereal Unhealthy?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) I'm not a big fan of cereals; I prefer breakfast options that offer some protein and healthy fat to keep blood sugar steady through the morning. But if cereals are part of your routine, you should know that just avoiding the brightly colored boxes of sugarcoated kids' versions may not be enough to assure the healthiest breakfast option. Sugars, over-processed grains and altered fats can be hidden in many cereals - including those that are marketed as "healthy." Consider the following when choosing cereals: 
·         Sugars: Choose unsweetened products or varieties with eight grams of sugar or less per serving…
·         Fiber: Aim for at least three grams of fiber per serving…
·         Fats: Avoid any product that contains hydrogenated fats or trans-fats.
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