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

Weight Gain Tied To Impulsivity: Study

(Huffington Post) Your weight may be linked with your personality, according to a new study…
The study included data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging and the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area study, which together included more than 1,900 study participants. Researchers analyzed their body weight and personality traits at the beginning and end of a decade-long period.
They found an association between having a 10 percent weight increase and an increase in the personality trait of impulsiveness (meaning they are likely to give in to temptations), as well as an increase in the personality trait of deliberation (meaning they are likely to think about what they are doing before they do it).
Community: Fortunately, there are many practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
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Swallowing sadness

(HHS HealthBeat) Maybe curling up on the couch with a pint of ice cream isn’t the best way to feel better after a bad day. Researchers can cite cases in which women felt worse after unhealthy eating.
At Penn State, Dr. Kristin Heron looked at data on 127 college-age women with unhealthy eating patterns and concerns about their body shape and weight. They carried handheld computers, where they answered questions about their moods and eating patterns.  
Heron didn’t actually count pints of ice cream. But she says the women generally felt worse after unhealthy eating.
“They were feeling more sad, or more worried, or more angry – and it may be some combination of all of these.”
So, she says, eat healthy…
Learn more at healthfinder.gov.
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Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards

(Appetite for Health) Nearly half of [people surveyed] who said they’re stressed eat more as a response. What’s more, the foods that we crave when we’re anxious tend to be feel-good foods loaded with sugar and/or fat like chocolate, candy, cookies, ice cream and salty chips. Research conducted at Yale University School of Medicine suggests that stress is a risk factor for obesity and it alters our brain chemistry to make us want more and more highly palatable foods, similar to a drug or alcohol addiction…
5 Slim Solutions to Stop Stress Eating
Just WAIT…
Practice Deep Breathing…
Read or Write…
 Move Your Body…
Call Someone.
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Sugar's Slippery Slope (..and how not to fall down it…)

(Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD, Appetite for Health) Cutting out sugar cold turkey can work.  After three days of no sugar, people notice a significant shift in their desire for sweets.  Even by the end of day 2, many sense relief.  But some don’t.
People with extreme insulin resistance, a history of disordered eating and those struggling with other addictive behaviors are in the wrestling match of a lifetime.  It can take months, if not years, for the exaggerated desire for sweet to quiet down.
What Helps Insulin Resistance
Moderate physical activity…
Enough protein…
Stress management…
Acute sugar withdrawal can be intense and overwhelming.   Sometimes it helps to learn how to eat sugar.  A favorite strategy is to enjoy a small and especially delicious sweet right after a strong protein meal.  Eating less starch at the meal quiets the overall carbohydrate load. 
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Stop Dieting, Lose Weight

(Darya Pino Rose, Neuroscientist) ou never really win if you're dieting. When you are constantly depriving yourself, happiness is always just out of reach. So even if you could confidently identify the best, most effective restrictive diet, why should this be your goal? Shouldn't there be more to life than constantly denying yourself the things you enjoy? Now you're thinking like a foodist.
Ten Simple Ways to Eat Less Without Noticing:
1.    Use smaller plates…
2.    Serve yourself 20 percent less…
3.    Use taller glasses…
4.    Eat protein for breakfast…
5.    Eat three meals a day…
6.    Keep snacks out of sight or out of the building…
7.    Chew thoroughly…
8.    Don't eat from the package…
9.    Don't eat in front of the TV…
10.  Don't pay attention to health claims.
Community: If you have trouble quitting snacking, here are some ideas:
(Alex Korb, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Here are some suggestions to win the battle over snacking urges: 1. Calm down… 2. Distract yourself… 3. Realize that you may indeed be hungry, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat… 4. Avoiding temptation is easier than resisting it… 5. Don’t get mad at yourself… 6. Maybe you’re just thirsty… 7. [I]f you feel like snacking, do something else with your mouth. Chew gum. Eat a carrot (no don’t dip it in ranch dressing).
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More News and Research on Eating and Weight

(Discover Magazine) New research has found that it’s not the taste of calorific foodstuffs that makes them enticing but rather their effects on our blood sugar. Our brain learns which foods are calorie-rich and drives us to seek them out.
(Science Daily) A study … found that the body's internal clock, the circadian system, increases hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods in the evenings. While the urge to consume more in the evening may have helped our ancestors store energy to survive longer in times of food scarcity, in the current environment of high-calorie food, those late night snacks may result in significant weight gain.
(Science Daily) [Research results] suggest that restricting food intake increases the reward value of food, particularly high-calorie, appetizing food (chocolate milkshakes), and that the more successful people are at caloric-restriction dieting, the greater difficulty they will face in maintaining the restriction. Additionally, abstaining from food intake for longer durations of time also increases the reward value of food, which may lead to poor food choices when the individual eventually does eat. Results imply that dieting characterized by meal skipping and fasting would be less successful than weight loss efforts characterized by intake of low energy dense healthy foods.
(Science Daily) Female rats are much more likely to binge eat than male rats, according to new research that provides some of the strongest evidence yet that biology plays a role in eating disorders… "Most theories of why eating disorders are so much more prevalent in females than males focus on the increased cultural and psychological pressure that girls and women face," said Kelly Klump, lead author… "But this study suggests that biological factors likely contribute as well."
(ThinkProgress) Coca-Cola unveiled a new anti-obesity campaign Wednesday, pledging to better regulate its advertising to children and ensure clear nutritional labeling is available on its drinks around the world… While the pledges and donations help improve Coke’s public image, they don’t address the core of the … company’s public health problem: the increasing body of literature that has linked soda and other sugary drink consumption to diabetes, obesity and even death. Even diet drinks — which Coke lauds as some of its healthier options — have been tied to negative health effects, like an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Shrimp Korma and Basmati Rice
Whip up this spicy and flavorful Indian shrimp korma in just 30 minutes. Spoon the shrimp mixture over hot basmati rice and top the dish with a spoonful of thick, tangy Greek-style yogurt to counter the heat.
EatingWell:
Hot Chile Grilled Cheese
This deconstructed version of a chile relleno turned sandwich packs some heat and an ooey-gooey filling. We like the flavor of sourdough, but any kind of bread will work well. Serve with: Coleslaw and sliced pineapple.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Healthy Salad: Tuscan Kale Salad
This traditional Tuscan salad is made with strips of Italian black kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino Tuscano cheese and breadcrumbs. These bright, refreshing flavors combine to bring the sunny taste of Italy to your table…
Food as Medicine
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten foods. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.
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Best Uses for Your Slow Cooker

(U.S. News & World Report) Almost any type of food can be made in the slow cooker, but cooking times vary depending on the dish. Here are 10 things you can do with this appliance; run an Internet search for exact recipes: 
Stew: This is one of the most common dishes to make in a slow cooker, as well as one of the best…
Beans: If you asked dietitians to name the healthiest food in the world, chances are many would say beans. Dried beans are also one of the best buys in the grocery store…
Apple butter: Despite its name, this dish is not full of fat – and yet, apple butter is a great replacement for regular butter on muffins and toast. It's also great to sub in for syrup…
Oatmeal: The slow cooker can be put to work overnight, too!...
Artichokes: Artichokes … can easily be steamed in the slow cooker…
Caramelized onions: In my opinion, everything is better when you add caramelized onions…
Stock: Keep leftover chicken bones, clippings of hearty vegetables like carrots and celery and leftover liquid from dishes like caramelized onions in your freezer until you're ready. Then dump all the ingredients in your cooker with some more water, and simmer away. 
Bread: It takes an hour or two to "bake" bread dough in the crockpot…
Pulled pork: … Pulled pork provides the beginning ingredient for several quick dishes.
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Should I get an osteoporosis screening at the pharmacy?

(Consumer Reports) Not if the screening device scans your heel to capture your bone density measurement, instead of the lower spine or hip. Bone density measurements help determine if you have osteoporosis. But heel scans can be inaccurate, say our medical consultants. The problem is that "normal" results could provide a false sense of security. For a better assessment, and to help determine whether you even need the test at all, discuss with your doctor.
"The heel may not be representative of the rest of the skeletal system," says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., chief medical adviser for Consumer Reports. "And the ultrasound equipment used in these settings does not produce nearly as accurate a result as scans of the hip and lower spine."
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Data Suggest Statins May Protect Kidney

(MedPage Today) Patients with statin-treated dyslipidemia had about one third fewer kidney stones as compared with nonusers, according to results of a large cohort study.
Overall, statin use was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of nephrolithiasis. After controlling for concomitant medication use, statin users had a 70% lower risk of kidney stones.
The benefit associated with statin was more than twice as great in women, James Masterson, MD, … reported.
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Patients Should Have Right to Control Genomic Health Information, Experts Say

(Science Daily) Doctors should not have the right or responsibility to force-feed their patients with genomic information about their future health risks, according to bioethicists… They write in response to controversial recommendations from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) on the reporting of incidental findings in clinical genome sequencing.
"A lot of people in this field would agree that no one has a right to withhold your health information from you," said Megan Allyse from the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. "But it's problematic to suggest the inverse: that the medical system should give you information you didn't ask for and don't want. No one should be able to interfere with your ability to accept or decline access. We think that's where these recommendations are problematic, because they do suggest that your physician should interfere in that decision by essentially saying, 'You have to accept this information.' And there is certainly evidence that some people do not want information about long-term health risks, especially in children."
The ACMG recommendations were prompted by the increasing use of genome sequencing in medical care.
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Lyme Disease Vaccine Shows Promise in Clinical Trial

(Science Daily) The results of a phase 1/2 clinical trial in Europe of an investigational Lyme disease vaccine co-developed by researchers at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at Baxter International Inc., a U.S. based healthcare company, revealed it to be promising and well tolerated, according to a research paper… The vaccine was shown to produce substantial antibodies against all targeted species of Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme disease in Europe and the United States. Baxter International conducted the clinical trial of the vaccine…
"The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the entire Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects," said Dr. [Benjamin] Luft, a co-author on the paper. "We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease."
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Implant News

(Ars Technica) Gianna Chien's study of the effects of an iPad 2 on implanted cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) is making some waves among the medical community because it appears to demonstrate that in a statistically significant number of cases, close proximity to an iPad 2 can disable someone's ICD and potentially lead to their death… [M]uch like their pacemaker brethren, ICDs can be started and stopped by magnets near the skin. Chien's study, which originated as a science fair project conducted with the aid of her physician father, shows that the magnets in the edge of an iPad 2 can also switch off ICDs.
(U.S. News & World Report) Electricity from pools' lighting systems might interfere with implanted defibrillators, case studies show.
(Bloomberg) Nanostim Inc.’s miniaturized pacemaker, a device the size of a AAA battery placed entirely in the heart, appeared promising in its first human trials. The device from Nanostim, a closely held company that St. Jude Medical (STJ) has said it will acquire by year’s end, doesn’t have the wires typical of a pacemaker. Wires carry an electrical charge from a battery-powered generator in the chest to the ventricle to prompt a regular heartbeat. Nanostim’s device, threaded through the femoral artery into the heart, is powered by a built-in battery that can last eight to 17 years.
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Analysis: Drugmakers face more scrutiny of discordant U.S. prices

(Reuters) The world's biggest drug makers have for years enjoyed rich premiums for their medicines in the U.S. market. Those days may be coming to an end.
Companies like Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca have grown dependent on higher U.S. prices to generate profits as generic rivals to their best-selling medicines enter the world market, Europe's government-run health plans clamp down on spending and sales growth in emerging markets stutters.
Now President Barack Obama's health reform law will bring more scrutiny of spending on drugs and medical care in the United States. As a result, healthcare experts say, downward pressure on drug prices will begin to mount within three to five years.
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To reduce U.S. healthcare costs the billing system much change

(UPI) Reducing the yearly increases in the cost of U.S. healthcare and improving quality will require both sticks and carrots to more-efficient care, researchers say.
Paul B. Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, said the best opportunity to pursue cost containment in the next five to 10 years was through reforming provider payment to gradually diminish the role of fee-for-service reimbursement…
At the same time, encouraging patients through financial incentives to choose higher-performing providers can help control costs.
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Obamacare Is Already Forcing Private Insurers To Lower Their Premiums

(ThinkProgress) Looks like Obamacare is more “on track” than “train wreck.”
In a striking illustration of the promise that the health law holds for consumers, two Oregon private insurers vying to sell coverage on the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace this October are reevaluating their opening bids for the plans’ monthly premiums.
The reason? A side-by-side regional comparison of all proposed 2014 premiums for Oregon marketplace plans became public on Oregon’s marketplace website Thursday, and showed that the two insurers’ planned monthly premiums were far higher than other proposals. That raised fears among the companies’ officials that their plans wouldn’t be competitive on the market later this year, leading them to proactively request a rate reduction — and as more of Obamacare is implemented, state insurance commissioners expect that trend to continue.
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The Real Obstacle of Health Insurance Exchanges: American Consumers

(U.S. News & World Report) Beyond the enormous challenges to make the [new state health insurance] exchanges operational, the real obstacle might be the American consumer. More than three years after the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land, consumers don't understand it. The lack of knowledge is greatest among people without insurance and especially those with low incomes – precisely the groups most likely to benefit from the new law…
"It's easy to lose focus on the consumer," health consultant Rosemarie Day says. She worked to help implement the state exchange that Massachusetts developed as part of its earlier expansion of health insurance. Based on that experience, Day says consumers need to see three to four plans that may apply to them rather than be overwhelmed by too much choice.
Their top coverage priorities, she says, were to see a menu of standardized benefits for different plans they could compare easily, the monthly premium cost of the policy, the co-pays for doctors' office visits and pharmacy prescriptions, and to have their primary doctor included in the insurer's network.
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Health centers to help uninsured individuals gain affordable health insurance coverage

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced new funding to help more uninsured Americans enroll in new health insurance coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act.  Approximately $150 million will help community health centers provide in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured individuals across the nation.  About 1,200 health centers operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide and serve approximately 21 million patients each year.
“Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the Nation, and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts,” Secretary Sebelius said.  “Investing in health centers for outreach and enrollment assistance provides one more way the Obama administration is helping consumers understand their options and enroll in affordable coverage.”
With these new funds, health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff, and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities.  Health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options.  Community health center staff will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
This funding opportunity was issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and it complements and aligns with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service funded navigator program.
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Social Connections Drive Positive Emotions and Health

(Science Daily) People who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions may have better physical health because they make more social connections, according to a new study…
The research … also found it is possible for a person to self-generate positive emotions in ways that make him or her physically healthier.
"People tend to liken their emotions to the weather, viewing them as uncontrollable," says [researcher Barbara] Fredrickson. "This research shows not only that our emotions are controllable, but also that we can take the reins of our daily emotions and steer ourselves toward better physical health."…
"The daily moments of connection that people feel with others emerge as the tiny engines that drive the upward spiral between positivity and health," Fredrickson explains.
These findings add another piece to the physical health puzzle, suggesting that positive emotions may be an essential psychological nutrient that builds health, just like getting enough exercise and eating leafy greens.
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Positive Social Support at Work Shown to Reduce Risk of Diabetes

(Science Daily) Dr. Sharon Toker of Tel Aviv University … has found that low levels of social support and high levels of stress in the workplace can accurately predict the development of diabetes over the long term -- even in employees who appear to be healthy otherwise…
The researchers' 3.5-year-long study of male and female employees established that work conditions had a preventative or predictive effect on the development of type 2 diabetes. Participants who reported having a high level of social support at work had a 22 percent lesser chance of developing diabetes over the course of the study. And those who described themselves as either over- or under-worked were 18 percent more likely to develop the disease. The results were controlled for various risk factors including age, family history, activity level, and body mass index.
Dr. Toker says these findings paint a grim picture, with a worrying rise in the rate of diabetes in the researchers' middle-aged study cohort, which had a mean age of 48. "You don't want to see working populations have an increasing rate of diabetes. It's costly to both employees and employers, resulting in absenteeism and triggering expensive medical insurance," she explains.
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Fun and Friends Help Ease the Pain of Breast Cancer Treatment, Increase Survival

(Science Daily) Breast cancer patients who say they have people with whom they have a good time, or have "positive social interactions" with, are better able to deal with pain and other physical symptoms, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study…
"This study provides research-based evidence that social support helps with physical symptoms," said lead author Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, MPH, staff scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. "Social support mechanisms matter in terms of physical outcomes."…
The Pathways study and an additional study based at the Division of Research called LACE (Life After Cancer Epidemiology) are collecting and analyzing data about women's genetic background, tumor characteristics and lifestyle choices immediately after diagnosis. Findings from these studies are providing information to help guide women as they make decisions following a breast cancer diagnosis. Among these findings are that high-fat dairy consumption increases mortality risk; soy decreases the risk of breast cancer recurrence; quality of life after diagnosis influences outcomes; and physical activity is beneficial.
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Positive Emotions Higher in Countries with Lower GDPs

(Huffington Post) A new study from the University of California, Irvine, … shows that positive emotions affect the health of people around the world, and most significantly in countries with lower income.
"We wondered whether the fact that emotions make a difference in our health is simply because we have the luxury of letting them,” study researcher Sarah Pressman … said in a statement. "We wanted to assess the impact of emotions on health in places where people face famine, homelessness and serious safety concerns that might be more critical correlates of wellness.”…
Contrary to the beliefs of the researchers, the study found that health and positive emotions like enjoyment, love and happiness were stronger in countries with GDPs that were not particularly strong, and the association increased as GDPs decreased…
“We hope that by showing that this phenomenon is prevalent and stronger than some factors considered critical to wellness, more attention will be drawn to the importance of studying both positive and negative emotions,” Pressman said in the statement.
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Healthy Living Tips and Research

(Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D., Psychology Today) A closer look at our own experiences as well as research data suggests that the secret to lasting happiness does not lie in any goods, relationships or achievements, but rather in what we can give: not just material gifts, but gifts of time, gifts of love, gifts of ourselves. Compassion and service don't just make us happy but they also have a host of other associated benefits and may even contribute to a longer life.
(Huffington Post) Good nutrition and exercise may be important, but the secret to good health and long life is all in your head, according to the Dalai Lama… [In] a talk at the "Culture Of Compassion" event…, His Holiness … shared his wisdom on the importance of stress relief and compassion in achieving good health. "Warm-heartedness is a key factor for healthy individuals, healthy families and healthy communities," he told the audience… "Scientists say that a healthy mind is a major factor for a healthy body," His Holiness said. "If you're serious about your health, think and take most concern for your peace of mind. That's very, very important."
(Russ Gerber, Psychology Today) [H]ealth professionals, health researchers, and the public at large are paying close attention to the relationship of expectations to health. It’s no longer a question of if there’s a relationship, but how close is it? A large body of placebo and nocebo research suggests there’s a direct correlation. Being hopeful can improve health outcomes, while hopelessness has the reverse effect. Fear of sickness can be a health hazard to the one who’s afraid, while an expectation of well-being can bring relief.
(Huffington Post) [Optimists] ...Have Healthier Hearts ...Have Better Cholesterol ...Handle Stress Smoothly ...Have Stronger Immunity ...Have Lower Stroke Risk ...Regulate Emotions Better ...Live Longer.
(George Davis, Psychology Today) [Heal Your Self with Writing, by Catherine Ann Jones,] is filled with writing exercises inspired by spirituality and wisdom; and so the exercises can have transcendent healing effects… [It] pulls wisdom from all across world civilizations—from Lao Tzu to a female Sufi to Booker T. Washington to Steve Jobs. The writing is smooth and so there is no heavy medicinal effect to the healing. It feels more like healing with natural remedies. It cleans the charka. Heal Your Self with Writing is an elixir for the soul.
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Recipes

This Sunday is Mother’s Day
Cooking Light:
Healthy Breakfast & Brunch Recipes
Kick off your morning with this collection of healthy breakfast recipes from casseroles and quiches, to muffins and sweet rolls.
The Supermarket Guru:
Beauty Foods for Mom!
We all know mom is beautiful on the inside and out, so here are some foods to include in her Mother's Day brunch to keep her radiant.
MyRecipes.com:
EatingWell:
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On Mother's Day, Preserve Tradition and Health

(Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, U.S. News & World Report) I'm a recipe rebel – always modifying and experimenting with ingredients to create healthier versions of our favorite dishes, so that nutritious and delicious can coexist… It's so easy to make simple swaps such as: 
·         Substituting oil or applesauce for some of the butter in your baked goods.
·         Treating meat as a side dish, and making the foundation of your dish veggies.
·         Ditching some of the sugar, salt and oil. Depending on the recipe, you'll still come up with a dish that tastes great.
·         Skipping the sour cream and adding some Greek yogurt.
·         Cutting the white flour in recipes, and using whole-wheat pastry flour instead.
·         Most of all, swapping eating alone on the run to eating together for fun. 
On this Mother's Day, I hope you enjoy spending time with those you love, whether you're making magic in the kitchen or reservations for a restaurant. May this day become one of your favorite memories. 
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Cooking Tips Nutritionists Learned From Their Moms

(U.S. News & World Report) My mom had a full-time job, yet we ate together as a family promptly at 6 just about every night. Long before I knew what a balanced meal looked like, I was eating one. We always started our meal with a salad, followed by some type of carbohydrate, protein and veggie. Carbs were never the main event. For example, we'd eat veal cutlets with a side of spaghetti and a veggie.
And those veal cutlets? They were breaded with wheat germ and oatmeal…
I was curious what my colleagues learned from their moms. Here's what they said:…
"She cooked using her senses rather than recipes and viewed food as love. Most notably, I gained an appreciation and passion for food quality and taste."…
"My mom taught me that taking the time to prepare healthful meals for your family is a great way to show your love."…
"To my mother, our enjoyment of one of her dishes was a green light to innovate. I learned at a very early age that if I wanted to see that dish again, I'd better ask how she made it while it was fresh in her mind. That was my incentive to cook!"…
"For one, you can grow and freeze your own veggies. And two: Always, always always include a vegetable at dinner!"
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Avocados May Signal a Healthy Diet

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) A new analysis of data gathered from a national nutrition survey suggests that eating avocados is linked to lower body weight.
Those who enjoyed avocados also had a lower body mass index (BMI), smaller waist circumference, a lower intake of added sugars, higher HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and a 50 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome than those survey participants who did not report eating avocados.
The survey showed that of the 17,567 adults who participants in the survey, the 347 who reported eating any amount of avocados during a 24-hour dietary recording period had significantly better overall nutrient intake levels than those who did not report eating avocados: 36 percent more fiber, 23 percent more vitamin E, 13 percent more magnesium, 16 percent more potassium and 48 percent more vitamin K from their diets.
Among those who reported eating avocados, average daily consumption was about one half of a medium avocado, with men consuming a bit more than women.
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Can Eating Peppers Help Ward Off Parkinson's Disease?

(Medscape Medical News) Eating foods that contain even a small amount of nicotine, such as peppers, may reduce the risk for Parkinson's disease (PD), new research hints.
Peppers are in the same botanical family as tobacco — the Solanaceae family. In a population-based study, researchers found that increasing consumption of edible forms of Solanaceae plants was associated with a lower risk of developing PD, with peppers displaying the strongest association.
"If our results are confirmed in similar studies, and we also learn more about why peppers might be protective, then the research may be of particular interest to people who want to eat foods that might benefit their health, especially people without PD already," Susan Searles Nielsen, PhD, who led the study, told Medscape Medical News.
"We weren't able to explore whether peppers or other foods slow progression of the disease once you have it, although research to address that question might be a natural extension," added Dr. Searles Nielsen.
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Adding veggies to your diet helps cut global warming

(Cornell Chronicle) If the carnivorous U.S. population – as a whole – ate a more-vegetarian diet that included egg and milk products, the environment would be greatly relieved, says a preliminary Cornell study.
Far fewer acres of land would be needed to support the diet, and much less nitrogen would pour into the environment, says life-cycle engineer Christine Costello, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. She will soon be a faculty member at the University of Missouri.
“Before, we knew that our diets were connected to the environment and our land use. Now, we have explicit links, as we can calculate and corroborate inputs like fertilizers, nitrous oxide and we can obtain more accurate numbers. It is important to demonstrate how consumption choices drive environmental impacts, and this project is explicitly defining those connections,” says Costello.
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Gray hair cure? Go Away Gray is no fountain of youth

(Consumer Reports) If you've been blamed for giving Mom gray hair, here's what not to give her this Mother's Day: a bottle of Go Away Gray, a supplement that claims to "prevent and reverse gray hair" via a daily dose of catalase, an enzyme produced by hair cells that naturally declines with age…
In a study published in July 2009 by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, researchers in England found that gray hair has lower-than-normal levels of catalase. But the study didn't look at whether taking pills of catalase stops hair from turning gray, nor has the maker of Go Away Gray, a New Jersey-based company called Rise-N-Shine, conducted any clinical trials to test whether it works…
A press release we got last week promoting Go Away Gray (just $29.99 a bottle!) said it was "the best gift possible" for Mother's Day. If that were true, we'd feel seriously bad for your mom.
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Chronic Pain Sufferers Likely to Have Anxiety

(Science Daily) Patients coping with chronic pain should also be evaluated for anxiety disorders, according to new research…
The study found that 45 percent of the pain patients screened positive for at least one or more of the common anxiety disorders. And those who had an anxiety disorder also reported significantly worse pain and health-related quality of life than patients without a disorder…
The researchers also found that it was common for the five different types of anxiety conditions to occur in combination with each other and with depression.
"Psychological comorbidities are common in patients with chronic low back pain and other studies have also shown a high prevalence of depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions," said pain expert Roger Chou, M.D.
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Antibiotics may help treat half of those with back pain

(UPI) Danish researchers said almost half of cases of chronic lower back pain may be caused by bacteria and may be treated with antibiotics…
The Danish studies … found the presence of bacteria in 46 percent of patients suffering from chronic lower back pain following a slipped or herniated disc and many were treated with antibiotics…
Researchers suggested the pain occurred because when a disc becomes herniated, bacteria can enter and cause an infection -- causing bone swelling and persistent pain.
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Rejuvenating Hormone Found to Reverse Symptoms of Heart Failure

(Science Daily) A study … reveals that a blood hormone known as growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) declines with age, and old mice injected with this hormone experience a reversal in signs of cardiac aging…
[O]ld mice treated with GDF11 injections experienced a reversal in signs of cardiac aging. Heart muscle cells became smaller, and the thickness of the heart muscle wall resembled that of young mice. "If some age-related diseases are due to loss of a circulating hormone, then it's possible that restoring levels of that hormone could be beneficial," [researcher Lee] Wagers says. "We're hoping that some day, age-related human heart failure might be treated this way."
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Docs May Deserve Some Credit for Slower Health Spending

(MedPage Today) Changes in healthcare provider practices -- and not just the Great Recession -- might deserve credit for the dramatic slowdown in health spending in recent years, health economists said.
About 55% of the slowdown in healthcare spending since 2003 can't be attributed either to declines in private insurance from the recession that started in 2008, or to changes in Medicare payments in the last decade, David Cutler, PhD, and Nikhil Sahni, MBA, MPA, both of Harvard University, found.
Therefore, the recent slowdown in health spending instead may come from one of three factors: fewer new drugs and imaging services, increased patient cost sharing, or greater provider efficiency, they wrote.
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