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

How Hugging, Kissing And Cuddling Help Your Health

(Huffington Post) If you're planning to celebrate with your Valentine in the coming weeks, get ready to toast to your health.
Earlier this week, a researcher at the Medical University of Vienna spread some good news in honor of National Hug Day. He pointed out that hugging someone you care about can ease stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and even boost memory…
Experts believe it all comes back to the hormone oxytocin. A simple embrace seems to increase levels of the "love hormone," which has been linked to social bonding.
That oxytocin boost seems to have a greater calming effect on women than men, the BBC reported. In one study, the stress-reducing effects of a brief hug in the morning carried throughout a tough work day, USA Today reported.
Perhaps the best news of all is that hugging isn't the only way getting close to your Valentine can boost your health. A few others also have big benefits
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Leading Health Indicator: Access to Health Services

(HealthyPeople.gov) Access to health services affects a person’s health and well-being. Regular and reliable access to health services can:
Prevent disease and disability
Detect and treat illnesses or other health conditions
Increase quality of life
Reduce the likelihood of premature (early) death
Increase life expectancy
Primary care providers (PCPs) play an important role in protecting the health and safety of the communities they serve. PCPs can develop meaningful and sustained relationships with patients and provide integrated services while practicing in the context of family and community. Having a usual PCP is associated with:
Greater patient trust in the provider
Good patient-provider communication
Increased likelihood that patients will receive appropriate care
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Why Doctors Can't Make You Well

(Deepak Chopra, The Chopra Foundation) For many people, keeping well doesn't involve taking good advice. After decades of public health campaigns in favor of low-fat diets, moderate exercise, and stress management, it's still hard to get Americans to comply.  As a society, we are so sold on drugs and surgery as the answer to illness that many of us only register two states of health: Either you are sick, or you're not sick. In the first case, you go to the doctor, who is expected to fix you.
The choice should be broader than being sick or not. "I am well" means much more than the absence of active disease. What the public -- and most doctors -- hasn't found out is that the cause of illness is becoming more and more murky.  It's not just germs and genes. The germ theory of disease held sway for over a century after the discovery of microbes and the arrival of antibiotics to combat them. Gene therapy, long promised as the answer to almost any disease, hasn't actually achieved much success, although in certain cases, such as cancers that are caused by a simple genetic mutation, targeted drug therapies have been successful.
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Patients and Evolutionary History

(Lawrence Rifkin, physician) Evolution has revolutionized our modern scientific understanding of natural history and how our bodies came to be. Yet evolutionary insights regarding health and disease are not typically emphasized with patients… What evolutionary insights are there for clinical medicine?
Medical conditions can occur when there is a mismatch between our evolved bodies and our particular society and environment. This idea challenges some of our notions of disease…
Allergies and autoimmune conditions are more common in developed societies where infections occur less frequently. This suggests a mismatch between our evolved immune system and our current environment…
Obesity likely represents a mismatch between our food preferences which evolved in environments of relative food scarcity, and modern environments with increased food availability and decreased activity levels.
Anxiety may have been an evolutionarily useful response — think of the advantage of being jumpy when you hear rustling in the tall grass in an African savannah — but now may be an inappropriate expression for our current environment…
Just because a trait evolved does not make it good or bad. Evolution itself is impersonal and morally neutral.  It is up to us to provide deliberate values into the blind shuffle of evolutionary selection. An evolutionary scientific understanding provides greater wisdom into health and illness.
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Experts Share Their Top Piece Of Health Advice

[We asked some of] our favorite health experts to tell us: If You could only share one piece of health advice, what would it be?
Eat well, live well, move more, love more…
-- Dean Ornish, M.D…
Take It Easy … and ride the waves of gratitude and grace.
-- Deepak Chopra…
[T]ake charge of and responsibility for your own health.
-- Frank Lipman M.D…
Have Fun!...
-- David Katz M.D…
Food Is The Most Important Medicine…
-- Mark Hyman, M.D.,…
Prioritize Sleep…
-- Michael Breus, Ph.D...
Be Active Everyday…
-- Tracey Mallett…
Believe In Yourself…
-- Richard Simmons,…
Smile more, sit less, and eat as though your life depended on it.
-- Travis Stork M.D.
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More Recent News and Research on General Health

(MyHealthNewsDaily) People who like yogurt may be enjoying more than its taste and texture. They also may be enjoying a better-balanced diet and getting more key nutrients than people who never eat the cultured dairy product,  new research shows. As a group, people who said they ate yogurt also reported consuming higher amounts of other good-for-you foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and whole grains, than did people who didn't eat yogurt. And their diets obtained fewer calories from processed meats, refined grains and beer than did the diets of non-yogurt eaters, according to the study, which received some funding from a yogurt manufacturer.
(Science Daily) Here's a wake-up call for snorers: Snoring may put you at a greater risk than those who are overweight, smoke or have high cholesterol to have thickening or abnormalities in the carotid artery, according to researchers… "Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn't be ignored. Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease," says lead study author Robert Deeb, M.D.
(Chatelaine) From eating more popcorn to sharing meals, these everyday tips will have you feeling great in no time!
(UPI) U.S. workers who are engaged in their work and workplace are more likely than those who are not engaged to have a healthier lifestyle, a survey indicates.
(Science Daily) Eating diets high in sugar and fat may not affect the health outcomes of older adults ages 75 and up, suggesting that placing people of such advanced age on overly restrictive diets to treat their excess weight or other conditions may have little benefit, according to researchers.
Community: That sounds to me like giving up, just because the person is older.
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Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
Fresh herbs and pickled jalapeƱos brighten up these simple quesadillas. Serve with a tossed green salad and a side of black beans to round out the meal.
Hoisin-Ginger Meatloaf
Scallions, hoisin sauce and ginger give this pork-and-turkey meatloaf great flavor and plenty of vegetables boost the fiber and nutrients. We love the texture of brown rice as a filler in this healthy Asian-flavored meatloaf recipe, but feel free to swap fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs for the rice.
Los Angeles Times:
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Got the Winter Blues? Try these Mood-Boosting Foods

(Appetite for Health) Got the Winter Blues? Try these Mood-Boosting Foods! Cold winter days and a poor diet can leave you feeling tired, cranky, and a little down. Today were turning the spotlight on foods and key nutrients that may boost your mood.
Omega-3 Fats
Multiple studies have shown a connection between omega-3 fatty acids and a lower risk of depressive disorders…
Foods rich in omega-3 fats include: oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), ground flaxseeds, canola oil, walnuts and omega-3 fortified eggs.
Vitamin D
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of vitamin D for bone health.  But recent research suggests that vitamin D might also help relieve mood disorders…
[F]ood sources of vitamin D: fat free and low-fat dairy, fortified soy milk, fatty fish and egg yolks. Because vitamin D-rich foods are limited, it may help to take a daily multivitamin which provides 600 IU (800 IU if you are over age 70).
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, along with other B vitamins, appears to play a role in mental health…
Foods rich in vitamin B12: shellfish (clams, oysters, crab), wild salmon (fresh or canned), fortified whole-grain breakfast cereal, lean beef, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, milk (skim, skim plus, 1% reduced-fat) and eggs.
Another important B vitamin, folate, may help boost your mood and reduce fatigue…
Foods rich in folate: leafy greens like kale, broccoli, and spinach – also fortified whole grains, beans and lentils, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and oranges.
At AppforHealth.com we LOVE breakfast.  Not only does it give you energy to start the day, studies show that eating breakfast can lift your mood…
A solid breakfast should contain complex carbohydrates (from whole grain cereals like oats, wheat or bran) and protein (from foods like eggs, low fat dairy, and nuts). 
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Cows Fed Flaxseed Produce More Nutritious Dairy Products

(Science Daily)  Dairy cows that are fed flaxseed produce more nutritious milk, according to a new study…
Their milk contained more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat, the study found. Diets high in saturated fat can increase cholesterol and cause heart disease, while those rich in omega-3 and other polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, studies have shown.
Traditional cattle feed mixtures of corn, grains, alfalfa hay and grass silage result in dairy products with low concentrations of omega-3 and other polyunsaturated fats, according to Gerd Bobe…
Although flaxseed costs more than traditional cattle feeds, Bobe hopes that it still could be an affordable feed supplement for cows because products enriched with omega-3 can sell for a premium at the grocery store.
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PepsiCo replacing Gatorade ingredient after online petition

(Reuters) PepsiCo Inc is removing a controversial chemical from its Gatorade drinks following concerns from consumers and an online petition by a Mississippi teenager.
Gatorade said the change was not a response to the petition, although the 15-year-old girl claimed victory.
The ingredient, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is a chemical containing bromine, which is found in fire retardants. Small quantities of BVO are used legally in some citrus-flavored drinks in the United States to keep the flavor evenly distributed.
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Babies, seniors can get hypothermia indoors

(UPI) For infants and seniors, hypothermia can also occur indoors, so the thermostat should be set no lower than 68 degrees, a New York health official says…
Those most at risk are people age 65 and older, infants, and those who work or play outdoors. The warning signs of hypothermia in adults are shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion, slurred speech, puffy face, shallow breathing, a slow heartbeat and weak pulse. Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin, [said Dr. Nirav R. Shah, New York state health commissioner].
Eating well-balanced meals will help the elderly stay warmer. However, do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages -- they cause the body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages or broth to help maintain body temperature.
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Seniors: Extra care, hygiene in flu season

(UPI) Visiting Angels, a private U.S. company that provides seniors with home care and assistance, advises special care and extra hygiene during flu season…
"This flu can be deadly for seniors because they can develop pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, so families have to be especially vigilant with their elderly loved ones," Larry Meigs, president of Visiting Angels, said in a statement. "Our flu kits help seniors protect themselves from the flu. Our caregivers run errands so seniors don't go out and get exposed to the virus. Plus, we help sanitize the seniors' homes to keep them as germ-free as possible."
Read more, including a list of contents of the flu kit, which you can assemble for yourself or your loved ones.
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New Strain of Norovirus Spreading Quickly in U.S.

(WebMD Health News) The flu is not the only highly contagious disease raging this winter.
A new strain of norovirus is causing intestinal illness outbreaks across the country, the CDC confirmed today.  
Norovirus is often to blame when large numbers of people get sick on cruise ships or in schools, nursing homes, and other places where people live, work, or play in close quarters.
CDC officials also reported a rise in outbreaks of sickness caused by drinking raw milk.
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Controversial bird flu research to resume

(McClatchy) Bird flu researchers said Wednesday that they would end a self-imposed moratorium on controversial experiments to determine how the deadly H5N1 virus might mutate and gain the ability to spread easily among humans.
In a statement published online by the journals Science and Nature, 40 scientists said they were poised to resume their investigations - but only in countries that have established clear rules for conducting the research safely. The U.S., which is the largest funder of influenza research, is not yet among those nations.
"We want to resume virus transmission studies because we believe this research is important to pandemic preparedness," said University of Wisconsin virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, one of the scientists whose work prompted biosecurity experts to call for new restrictions on flu research.
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The FDA at work

(WebMD Health News) The FDA has approved Oxytrol for Women, the first over-the-counter treatment for overactive bladder in women 18 and older… Oxytrol helps relax the overactive bladder muscle that leads to symptoms such as the sudden need to urinate and leaking of urine. It will still only be available in prescription form for men. Oxytrol for Women is in the form of a patch, applied to the skin every four days, Merck says.
(MedPage Today) After a long delay, the FDA approved the oral drug alogliptin (Nesina) for treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes, as well as two products combining alogliptin with other antidiabetic drugs.
(Medical News Today) A robot that allows patients to communicate with doctors via a telemedicine system that can move around on its own has just received 510(k) clearance by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
Community: And nothing can go wrong … go wrong … go wrong …
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Prescription Painkiller Abuse

(Bloomberg) The high rates of abuse of hydrocodone combination painkillers such as Vicodin show doctors aren’t taking seriously enough the risks of the pills, a top Drug Enforcement Administration official said.
(MedPage Today) Educating physicians on potentially inappropriate medications lowered prescription of such drugs to seniors by nearly a third in 3 years, a proof-of-concept study showed.
(Shots, NPR) Painkillers containing the drug hydrocodone have provided relief to many in pain. But a panel recommended the federal government place restrictions on access to the drugs to lessen the odds of addiction.
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TurboTax, Not Travelocity, May Be Better Analogy For Health Exchanges

(Kaiser Health News) Like paying taxes, buying insurance is a complicated proposition, rife with jargon and high stakes: Errors can cost big money and run afoul of the law.
And like doing taxes, buying a policy on the exchange means interfacing with state and federal government agencies, too.
Jargon is a big issue for consumers, who want to be able to hover a mouse over confusing terms to get a quick explanation of something they need to know, a popular feature of the tax software.
The insight comes from discussion groups convened last summer by three Colorado nonprofits.
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Americans Want Federal Deficit Trimmed Without Medicare Cuts

(Kaiser Health News) Most Americans want quick action to reduce the deficit, but almost six in 10 oppose cutting Medicare spending to achieve that goal, according to a new poll released [Thursday].
Lawmakers should examine other alternatives, including requiring drug makers to give the government “a better deal” on medications for low-income seniors (85 percent) and making higher-income seniors pay more for coverage (59 percent), according to the survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. 
Community: How about we reduce military spending? Let’s stop spending our citizens’ blood and our nation’s treasure to protect the interests of American corporations abroad.
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Beta Carotene May Reduce Genetic Risk for Type-2 Diabetes

(Science Daily) Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have found that for people harboring a genetic predisposition that is prevalent among Americans, beta carotene, which the body converts to a close cousin of vitamin A, may lower the risk for the most common form of diabetes, while gamma tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the American diet, may increase risk for the disease…
The findings point the way to further experiments that could establish whether beta carotene and gamma tocopherol are, respectively, protective and harmful themselves, or merely "markers" whose blood levels dovetail with the presence or absence of some other substance, process or defect that is a true causal factor…
But [in the meantime,] maybe it can't hurt to eat a few more carrots.
Community: Top dietary sources of beta carotene are sweet potatoes, beef liver, spinach, and carrots, according to the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements. And the same agency says the top dietary sources of vitamin E are nuts, seeds, and the oils made from them.
And don’t forget that there are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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Prevent diabetes with food supplements

(Elizabeth Shimer Bowers, Everyday Health; Medically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD) A diet to prevent type 2 diabetes includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It's also low in sugary drinks and saturated fats. But beyond those important basics, there exist some supplements and more surprising foods that recent research has shown might help control blood sugar. Here are the latest food remedies to prevent diabetes.
Chicory Seed Extract…
Purple Corn…
Grape Seed Extract…
Prickly Pear Cactus…
Before you try any potential supplements or foods that control blood sugar, Graham says to check in with your health care professional. Foods that control blood sugar may make your sugars go up or down, which could be dangerous if your physician isn't aware of what you're doing, he says. Plus, many type 2 diabetes supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “For all these reasons," Graham stresses, "it is really important to talk to your physician about anything you take.”
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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Whole grains linked to lower prediabetes risk

(Reuters Health) Eating whole grains is associated with a decreased risk of prediabetes, a blood sugar elevation that can precede diabetes in adults, according to new research.
Swedish residents who ate food containing more than 59 grams -- roughly two ounces -- of whole grains per day were 27 percent less likely to become prediabetic compared with residents who ate 30 grams or less, according to the research.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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Drugs Derived from Plants for Diabetes?

(Reuters Health) [R]esearchers … believe they have identified potential sources of medicines derived from plants which may have fewer adverse side-effects for diabetes sufferers.
The scientists are investigating the properties of two plants found in south-east Asia which they think could have properties that are not only anti-diabetic, but also lipid- or fat-lowering, and so can help tackle obesity…
[They] aim to isolate and identify certain extracts from the plants Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata, which could have 'active ingredients' for treating diabetes. They discovered that one of the compounds isolated from the plant, kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside, has proved to be more than eight times more potent than the standard anti-diabetic drug, acarbose.
The team also found the plants have anti-oxidant properties, which is beneficial when treating diabetes.
Community: According to Wikipedia, cassia is similar to cinnamon, which as we saw above, can also help control blood sugar.
There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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Weight-loss regimen a preferred choice for countering diabetes

(Los Angeles Times) [T]he Diabetes Prevention Program — may soon become the blockbuster prescription medicine you've never heard of. In 2013, it is poised to become the envy of pharmaceutical companies, a new rival to programs such as Weight Watchers, and a target of opportunity for healthcare entrepreneurs.
Led by a trained coach, it is a testament to the power of a mentor and of setting modest goals in spurring healthful behavior. And it may be a crucial first test of the Affordable Care Act's focus on preventive health.
In nearly 30 clinical trials, scientists have established that the program is far more effective at helping people lose weight and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes than "usual care" — essentially, a doctor telling a patient to slim down and get active, and then sending him on his way. But the program hasn't been packaged in a form that healthcare providers can simply and cheaply offer to patients, said Dr. Jun Ma of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, who studies diabetes prevention.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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What are the signs of diabetes?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) People can get diabetes at any age, but the risk increases as we get older. Symptoms can be so mild that you don’t notice them. Learn about the signs of diabetes and find out about tests used to diagnose diabetes.
Also, take this quiz to learn more about diabetes signs and diagnosis.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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Diabetes, 24-7

(HHS HealthBeat) You don’t get days off from diabetes. It has to be managed constantly, and not just by monitoring your blood sugar and taking medication appropriately. At the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Director Griffin Rodgers says a lot of goal-setting is involved.  He says there are goals about what you can eat – and, more importantly, can’t – whether you are controlling your weight, and whether you are being physically active.
“People with diabetes can’t take a vacation from diabetes. They need to make decisions to manage their diabetes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
People without diabetes can manage, too. Some of those same lifestyle decisions, such as being active and keeping your weight and eating patterns healthy, can help to prevent diabetes.
Learn more at healthfinder.gov.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes.
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More Recent News and Research on Diabetes

(BBC News) Keeping your kidneys healthy could be one of the best ways to extend your life if you have Type 2 diabetes, researchers have suggested. The University of Washington study found that having kidney disease meant a much higher risk of early death.
(Bloomberg) The number of Americans with vision loss not correctable by glasses is rising, caused in part by increasing diabetes rates, a study found… About 2.15 million people in the U.S. ages 20 and older suffer from non-refractive visual impairment, which can take surgery or lasers to repair, said David Friedman, a study author. Based on [the] findings, more effort is needed to prevent diabetes and ensure that those who have the disease get yearly eye exams, he said.
(Science Daily) A new therapeutic approach to diabetes that combines insulin and an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) betacellulin could limit the progression of diabetic macular edema (DME), Cleveland Clinic researcher Bela Anand-Apte, MD, PhD, said… The study, conducted with insulin-dependent diabetic mice, showed that by thwarting "cross-talk" between insulin and betacellulin (BTC), which promotes the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells that stores and releases insulin, the EGF inhibitor preserved the animals' vascular integrity, she explained.
(Science Daily) For some people with diabetes, there may be such a thing as too much care. Traditional treatment to reduce risks of heart disease among patients with diabetes has focused on lowering all patients' blood cholesterol to a specific, standard level. But this practice may prompt the over-use of high-dose medications for patients who don't need them, according to new research.
(WebMD Health News) An FDA advisory panel has given its blessing to canagliflozin (Invokana) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes… Taken by mouth once a day, the drug could be the first in a new class of diabetes drugs called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Canagliflozin works to reduce the amount of blood sugar (glucose) reabsorbed by the kidneys. This results in glucose being expelled in the urine. Preliminary data suggest that people who take the new medication have lower glucose levels and also lose weight.
More . . .


Shrimp Pad Thai
Make Thailand's most popular noodle dish in mere minutes. This lightened version is packed with vibrant ingredients such as crushed red pepper, sliced green onions, and dry-roasted peanuts to add great Thai flavor. Our online reviewers noticed that the Shrimp Pad Thai was even better on the second day, so make extra for leftovers.
Catfish Amandine
Here, we use healthier extra-virgin olive oil with a bit of butter added for its flavor instead of the tablespoons of butter usually used to make classic “amandine” sauce for pan-fried catfish fillets. The results are delicately flavored and have only a third of the calories, fat and sodium of a classic version.
The Supermarket Guru:
Chef Jamie's Apple-Stuffed Pork Chops with Cider Sauce
Chef Jamie says: Pork never had it so good as in this dish filled with fall flavors!
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Curried Cauliflower Soup
This rich soup is healthy, vegan, and quick prepare. It's good hot or cold and keeps well if you don't serve it all at once. I use orange cauliflower when I can find it, for its higher content of beta-carotene than white. Cashew milk makes the soup deliciously creamy. This is a good way to get the anti-inflammatory benefit of turmeric. Garnish each bowl with caramelized onions and bright green cilantro for a beautiful presentation.
Food as Medicine
Like all cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower offers a host of health benefits including several potent anti-inflammatory compounds. It is a good source of vitamin K, which has been shown to directly modulate the body's inflammatory response. It also contains substances that the body can convert to sulforaphane, which supports blood vessel health and may offer other cardiovascular benefits.
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Fiftysomething Diet: Healthy Food Swaps

(Maureen Callahan, registered dietitian) By the time you’re 50, you're probably trying to eat healthier. High-fiber cereals are newly on your radar. So are any foods that boast healthy amounts of flax, calcium and/or antioxidants. Trouble is, many supposedly good-for-you supermarket foods are full of not-so-good adds-ons like salt, sugar and bad fats…
1. Supposedly Good: Whole-grain cereals
Healthy Swap: 100 percent whole grains…
2. Supposedly Good: Reduced-fat peanut butter
Healthy Swap: Full-fat peanut butter…
3. Supposedly Good: Low-fat muffins
Healthy Swap: Whole wheat English muffins…
4. Supposedly Good: Trail mix
Healthy Swap: Unsalted almonds and raisins…
5. Supposedly Good: Veggie chips
Healthy Swap: Air-popped popcorn…
6. Supposedly Good: Nutritional drinks in a can
Healthy Swap: Real food.
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Iron: The Essentials

(The Supermarket Guru) In the body, the majority of iron is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen; as well as in myoglobin, the protein that helps supply oxygen to muscle. The body also stores iron, which is regulated by intestinal iron absorption.
There are two types of dietary iron, heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from animal products, such as read meat, fish and poultry, and comes directly from hemoglobin. Heme iron is easily absorbed by the body, as it is in the exact structure that the body needs and does not need to undergo any changes once ingested. Nonheme iron on the other hand is found in plant food such as legumes (i.e. lentils), spinach, prunes and more…
Vitamin C aids in the absorption of nonheme iron, while calcium and tannins (found in coffee and tea) reduce absorption.
Community: We older folks have to be wary of too much iron, though. In our house, we now take a multivitamin that doesn’t have iron.
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In the Dairy Case, Ripe Prose

(New York Times) Martin Johnson … manages the cheese, charcuterie and other treats at Gastronomie 491, a market and cafe on the Upper West Side. Look into the display case that Mr. Johnson oversees there, and your first response may be confusion. So many cheeses, so many names.
“Adelegger,” Mr. Johnson said the other day. “Does that really mean anything to you?”
Well, no.
“Exactly,” he said. Even if you learn that Adelegger is Bavarian and that it is made of raw cow’s milk — fine, but what does it taste like?
Mr. Johnson conveys the flavor this way, on a small sign in that display case: “Just think of a scene in a movie where the lead actress, obviously one of the greats, turns around slowly and walks away from the camera taking your entire attention with her.”
Now do you want some Adelegger? If so, then Mr. Johnson has done his job, which is to use lyrical wit and subtle cultural references to lure customers into taking home a wedge of the rare and unfamiliar cheeses that he adores
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In NAACP, Industry Gets Ally Against Soda Ban

(New York Times) As the American soft-drink industry argued its case in court on Wednesday against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s restrictions on sugary drink sizes, a prominent local group stood by its side: the New York chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.
The obesity rate for African-Americans in New York City is higher than the city average, and city health department officials say minority neighborhoods would be among the key beneficiaries of a rule that would limit the sale of super-size, calorie-laden beverages.
But the N.A.A.C.P. has close ties to big soft-drink companies, particularly Coca-Cola, whose longtime Atlanta law firm, King & Spalding, wrote the amicus brief filed by the civil rights group in support of a lawsuit aimed at blocking Mr. Bloomberg’s soda rules, which are set to take effect in March.
Community: Shame on the NAACP! It’s not only in New York, but country-wide that African Americans have a higher obesity rate, and the evidence just keeps mounting linking sugary drinks with obesity.
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Without Real Change, New Coke Ad Bubbles With Hypocrisy

(Dr. Harold Goldstein, California Center for Public Health Advocacy) Coca-Cola's newest advertising campaign … has a fundamental flaw. Coca-Cola and its beverage industry brethren have the dubious distinction of being the biggest contributors to the nation's obesity crisis. Over the past 30 years, 43 percent of the increase in daily calories consumed by Americans has come from sugary drinks.
In a veiled mea culpa, Coca-Cola finally acknowledges the need to reverse their tendency toward super-sized portions, obscure label information and predatory marketing to children. Unfortunately, their initial steps and recommendations focused largely on physical activity are as flat as a lukewarm soda left on the counter all afternoon. In fact, in light of increased public support for regulations on their marketing practices, Coke's meager changes seem cherry-picked to provide more political cover than health impact.
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South tops U.S. in mental health meds use

(UPI) The use of antidepressant, anti-psychotic and stimulant medications is 40 percent greater in the South than in the rest of the United States, researchers say…
Marissa King, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, and colleagues identified large regional clusters, centered on Tennessee, where use of the drug classes was elevated…
People living within one of the clusters were 77 percent more likely to fill a stimulant prescription, 46 percent more likely to fill an antidepressant prescription and 42 percent more likely to fill an anti-psychotic prescription than residents outside of the cluster.
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Are Antidepressants Overused?

(Science Daily) Glasgow GP, Dr Des Spence, thinks that "we use antidepressants too easily, for too long, and that they are effective for few people (if at all)"
He acknowledges that depression is an important illness, but argues that the current definition of clinical depression (two weeks of low mood -- even after bereavement) "is too loose and is causing widespread medicalisation." He also points out that 75% of those who write these definitions have links to drug companies…
"But even if we accept that antidepressants are effective, a Cochrane review suggests that only one in seven people actually benefits. Thus millions of people are enduring at least six months of ineffective treatment," he writes…
He also questions the view that depression is a mere chemical imbalance and concludes: "Improving society's wellbeing is not in the gift of medicine nor mere medication, and overprescribing of antidepressants serves as a distraction from a wider debate about why we are so unhappy as a society. We are doing harm."
Community: You’re on to something, Dr. Spence! We definitely have to start looking at what we’re doing as a society that’s causing so much unhappiness and mental illness.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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If it Works for Rap, Why Not for Healthcare-Speak?

(MedPage Today) “Health Care Reform Gangnam Style,” is the headline of a clever column by Lisa Suennen on The Health Care Blog.
Her premise:  if a company can get a $15 million venture fund investment to interpret rap lyrics, why isn’t anyone hitting on what she calls the “number one market opportunity: explaining healthcare speak to the masses”?
“Have you ever seen an Explanation of Benefits from your insurance company?” she asks. She also cites as examples a document for public comment issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and the American Medical Association website’s FAQ about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
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Vitamin D may be a breast cancer therapy

(UPI) Vitamin D may be involved in a possible new breast cancer therapy, U.S. and Spanish researchers say.
Susana Gonzalo … and her team identified one pathway activated in breast cancers with the poorest prognosis, such as those classified as triple-negative. These cancers often strike younger women and are harder to treat than any other type of breast cancer…
[V]itamin D plays a role in turning off this pathway, providing a safe and cost-effective strategy to fight these types of tumors, Gonzalo said.
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