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

Nutrition Programs Behind Slowdown In Obesity Growth?

(ThinkProgress) The adult obesity rate only increased by 0.2 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — the slowest rise in a decade. That may be driven by increased awareness of obesity’s health consequences and nutritional programs aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles, according to public health experts.
U.S. obesity rates have ballooned by almost 10 percent in the last 15 years, and Americans’ unhealthy lifestyles have contributed to millions of deaths — and massive public and private health care spending — due to diabetes and heart disease. That disproportionately affects the 12.5 million obese American children under the age of 20, since established unhealthy habits are difficult to reverse later on in life.
But community grants provided by the CDC, and Obamacare funding meant to strengthen local efforts for promoting nutritional wellness and exercise, may have led to the recent slowdown in that trend. The Affordable Care Act allocates $15 billion over the next decade to statewide anti-obesity measures, and historical evidence in cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia have shown that aggressive nutrition efforts can engender significant public health benefits.
Not all lawmakers are fans of those efforts. As Modern Healthcare notes, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare’s preventative health fund, dismissing it as a “slush fund.”
Still, American obesity rates remain unacceptably high, leading doctors’ groups to advocate policy changes that further address obesity.
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David Katz: Obesity as Disease: Why I Vote No

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) There is a certain irony in the nearly immediate juxtaposition of the rare introduction of anew FDA-approved drug for weight loss (Belviq) to the marketplace and the recognition of obesity as a "disease" by the AMA. A line from the movie Jerry Maguire comes to mind: "You complete me!" Drugs need diseases; diseases need drugs.
And that's part of what has me completely worried. The notion that obesity is a disease will inevitably invite a reliance on pharmacotherapy and surgery to fix what is best addressed through improvements in the use of our feet and forks, and in our Farm Bill…
Our bodies, physiology, and genes are much the same as they ever were. Certainly these have not changed much in the decades over which obesity went from rare to pandemic. What has changed is the environment.
We are awash in highly-processed, hyper-palatable, glow-in-the-dark foods. We are afloat in constant currents of aggressive food marketing. We are deluged with ever more labor-saving technological advances, while opportunities for daily physical activity dry up.
We are drowning in calories. And that's how, in my opinion, we should make obesity medically legitimate: as a form of drowning, not as a disease…
The most important reasons for rampant obesity are dysfunction not within our individual bodies, but at the level of the body politic. We do need medicine to treat obesity, but more often than not, it is lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle is the best medicine we've got -- but it is cultural medicine, not clinical.
That's where our attention and corrective actions should be directed… If we look more to clinics and less to culture for definitive remedies, it will do net harm. If we fail to consider the power we each have over our own medical destiny, and wait for salvation at the cutting edge of biomedical advance, it will do net harm.
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People want schools to help prevent childhood obesity, survey says

(Los Angeles Times) Ninety percent of Americans said schools should take a role in combating obesity - a surprising cut away from the idea that being overweight is a personal choice.
That doesn't meant people don't see that they need to take action as well for themselves and their families, according to the results of a Field Research poll released Wednesday. "It really indicates a sea change in how people view the problem," Loel Solomon, vice president for community health at Kaiser Permanente, said in an interview. "People are ready to act for themselves, their families and their loved ones, but they know they can't do it alone."
Only 19 percent of those surveyed said that obesity was only a personal issue.
Solomon also said the survey showed "pretty broad consensus on strategies" such as physical exercise, safe walking routes to schools and fresh drinking water at schools.
Community: Once again, we see that most Americans, sensibly, want their government to use their tax money to help them get and stay healthy.
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The Sobering Connection Between Obesity and Heart Disease

(Reader's Digest) On June 19, the world mourned the loss of James Gandolfini, one of television’s most beloved and talented actors, at the age of 51 of a suspected heart attack. (No official cause of death will be released until an autopsy is performed). Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, noted on CNN that usually first heart attacks don’t strike until after age 60, although risk factors such as obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and stress can cause them to occur earlier.
But with the obesity epidemic growing in America, excess weight has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature heart attacks, cardiologist Peter A. McCullough, MD, told Reuters. In 2008, he led a study … that found that obese people had a first heart attack 6.8 years earlier, on average, than people who had a more healthy weight. Severely obese individuals (with a BMI greater than 40) had a first heart attack 12 years earlier than those who were of normal weight.
An unrelated study … found that obese, middle-aged men were 60 percent more likely to die from a heart attack than a similar group of men who weren’t obese, even after researchers accounted for factors like cholesterol and blood pressure.
“This means [that] obesity itself may be causing fatal heart attacks through a factor that we have not yet identified,” Jennifer Logue, a clinical lecturer of metabolic medicine with the British Heart Foundation’s Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, told USA Today.
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Do Americans Eat More Than Hunter Gatherers?

(Nigel Barber, Ph.D., Psychology Today) People from subsistence societies are all lean and fit.
Paradoxically, … the skinny peoples of the world eat more than the obese ones. Among hunter-gatherers, such as the Ache of Paraguay, the average man, at 150 lbs weighs substantially less than the average American man but consumes 3,300 calories (i.e. kilocalories) compared to just 2,700 for the average American male (and the same applies to women, 2).
How do the Ache manage to eat so much without getting overweight? The answer is that they are very active compared to us, using three times as much energy in physical activity as we do (about 1,800 calories compared to 600 for us). When we lead an active life, we are good at regulating our weight, regardless of how much we eat.
Farmers have long known that if you want to fatten a cow before slaughter the fastest method is by confining her in a small space with plenty of high-energy food. By restricting our own movement via a sedentary lifestyle we are doing the same to ourselves.
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Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs
One of the most popular Cooking Light chicken recipes, these sweet and spicy grilled chicken thighs are flavored with chili powder, cumin, garlic and cider vinegar.
Thai Chicken & Mango Stir-Fry
Both ripe and underripe mango work well in this chicken and vegetable stir-fry. If the mangoes you have are less ripe, use 2 teaspoons brown sugar. If they’re ripe and sweet, just use 1 teaspoon or omit the brown sugar altogether.
Los Angeles Times:
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The Health Benefits of National Iced Tea Month

(Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, U.S. News & World Report) Baby, it's hot outside! It's the perfect weather for the official drink of June: iced tea. In honor of National Iced Tea Month, here are some healthy tea tidbits to brew on as you reach for a tall, cool one.
Tea may help fight cancer…
Tea is kind to teeth…
Tea drinkers may have lower rates of Type 2 diabetes…
Tea is good for your brain…
Tea is easy on your wallet…
There are two potential downsides to adding tea to your beverage rotation: The added calories from sweeteners and the caffeine. Learning to enjoy your tea unsweetened, drinking no more than about 4 cups a day and perhaps avoiding tea in the evening so the caffeine doesn't interfere with your sleep will help prevent these pitfalls.
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Lower your odds of skin cancer

(RealAge.com) Be it to summer drinks, crisp salads, or sandwich spreads, adding a few shaves of this could be good news for your skin: lemon zest.
A compound in lemon peels appears to help ward off a common skin cancer -- squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) -- by up to 34 percent. And it's all thanks to a citrus compound called d-Limonene.
D-Limonene seems to help keep skin cancer cells from growing and multiplying. And you can find plenty of the stuff in citrus peels.
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The Vitamins and Supplements Most Recommended by Pharmacists

(U.S. News & World Report) U.S. News, in partnership with Pharmacy Times – a monthly trade journal for pharmacists – surveyed hundreds of pharmacists to see which vitamin and supplement brands they recommend most often. The results were listed in the Pharmacy Times OTC Guide and U.S. News' Top Recommended Health Products list. Below are some of the findings:
Pharmacists named Centrum the No. 1 recommended multivitamin with 63 percent of the vote, followed by One A Day at 19 percent and Nature's Made at 8 percent.
Pharmacists named Citracal the No. 1 recommended calcium supplement with 41 percent of the vote, followed by Caltrate at 22 percent and Os-Cal at 20 percent.
Pharmacists named Metamucil the No. 1 recommended fiber supplement with 36 percent of the vote, followed by Benefiber at 23 percent and Citrucel at 18 percent.
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U.S. heat-related deaths are on the rise

(UPI) Heat-related deaths are on the rise; in a two-week period in 2012, excessive heat exposure resulted in 32 deaths in four states, federal health officials say…
"No one should die from a heat wave, but extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather event," a statement by the CDC said. "Extreme heat can lead to very high body temperatures, brain and organ damage, and even death. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to properly compensate and cool themselves."
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6 steps to avoiding heat stroke

(Consumer Reports) With the start of summer come concerns about heat stroke. About 650 people die each year in the U.S. from heat-related health problems…Our experts recommend taking the following precautions if your area is experiencing severe heat:
1.    Hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially water. And avoid alcohol.
2.    Look for air conditioning… If you don't have access to air conditioning, take cool showers or baths, keep shades or curtains closed during the hottest times of day, use a fan, and open windows for cross-ventilation.
3.    Dress cool. Wear loose-fitting clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen.
4.    Limit activity
5.    Watch for signs of heat stroke. Those include weakness, cold or clammy skin, fatigue, delirium, nausea or vomiting, headache, confusion, or convulsions. If you experience those symptoms [or] are with someone who does, get out of the heat and head to an emergency room immediately.
6.    Watch your drugs. Certain medications can increase the risk of heat stroke by decreasing sweating. Those include anticholinergics, antihistamines, beta-blockers, and phenothiazines.
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Emergency Helicopter Airlifts Help the Seriously Injured

(Science Daily) Patients transferred to hospital via helicopter ambulance tend to have a higher survival rate than those who take the more traditional road route, despite having more severe injuries. The research … suggests that air ambulances are both effective and worthy of investment…
Of 13,000 patients included in the study, a third were transported to hospital by helicopter. These patients tended to be more seriously injured, with chest and abdominal injuries requiring more extensive on-scene treatment. While in the ICU they were more likely to suffer complications, such as sepsis and multiple organ failure, and consequently require more time in hospital before being released home. But these patients had a survival benefit compared to the ones transported by road…
[Said Dr Hagen Andruszkow,] "These patients tend to be the most severely injured -- nevertheless the care that they receive from medical staff at the scene and during transport, plus speed of transport, means that patients are more likely to survive. This needs to be taken into account when deciding to start or continue with air ambulance services."
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Colon cancer screening tied to better outcomes

(Reuters Health) People who are diagnosed with colon cancer after routine colonoscopies tend to have better outcomes and less advanced cancers than people diagnosed based on symptoms, says a new study.
Those who were diagnosed with colon cancer as a result of symptoms were three times more likely to die during the study than the patients diagnosed after colonoscopy screenings, researchers found.
"It's in line with its current use. It shows that colonoscopy appears to be beneficial in reducing deaths in those diagnosed with colorectal cancer," said Dr. Chyke Doubeni, who studies colonoscopy use but wasn't involved in the new research.
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Colonoscopy procedures improve when doctors given report cards

(UPI) Giving physicians who perform colonoscopies a quarterly report card is associated with an improvement in performance criteria, U.S. researchers say.
Endoscopists at the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis who participated in the study showed an overall precancerous polyp detection rate increase from 44.7 percent to 53.9 percent, and a cecal intubation rate increase from 95.6 percent to 98.1 percent, the study said.
Lead author Dr. Charles J. Kahi of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis said these two metrics were validated measures of colonoscopy performance quality.
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Doctors Wrote Possibly Harmful Prescriptions, Report Says

(Washington Post) More than 700 doctors nationwide wrote prescriptions for elderly and disabled patients in highly questionable and potentially harmful ways, according to a report of Medicare’s drug program released Thursday.
The review by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services flags those doctors as “very extreme” in their prescribing and says Medicare should do more to investigate or stop them.
The study mirrors a ProPublica investigation published in The Washington Post last month. That report found that Medicare had not protected patients from doctors and other health-care professionals prescribing large quantities of potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive drugs…
“Strong oversight of the Medicare prescription drug program is critical for protecting patients from harm,” Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) said in an e-mail.
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Doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries

(USA Today) Tens of thousands of times each year, patients are wheeled into the nation's operating rooms for surgery that isn't necessary, a USA TODAY review of government records and medical databases finds.
Some … fall victim to predators who enrich themselves by bilking insurers for operations that are not medically justified. Even more turn to doctors who simply lack the competence or training to recognize when a surgical procedure can be avoided, either because the medical facts don't warrant it or because there are non-surgical treatments that would better serve the patient.
The scope and toll of the problem are enormous, yet it remains largely hidden. Public attention has been limited to a few sensational cases, typically involving doctors who put cardiac stents in patients who didn't need them.
In fact, unnecessary surgeries might account for 10% to 20% of all operations in some specialties, including a wide range of cardiac procedures — not only stents, but also angioplasty and pacemaker implants — as well as many spinal surgeries. Knee replacements, hysterectomies, and cesarean sections are among the other surgical procedures performed more often than needed, according to a review of in-depth studies and data generated by both government and academic sources.
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Docs may cherry-pick cases after death rate reports

(Reuters Health) Doctors may avoid treating the sickest heart patients with a common procedure after their hospitals are marked as having high death rates, says a new study that points to a possible unintended consequence of transparency.
Researchers found the severity of cases treated at four Massachusetts hospitals was lower after they were labeled "outliers" for having high death rates after stenting between 2003 and 2010, compared to their counterparts with lower death rates.
"It really does highlight the idea that all the good that has come from public reporting and process improvement, we've traded that for another set of problems," said Dr. Duane Pinto, who has written about public reporting but wasn't involved in the new study.
Community: So, insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, but doctors and hospitals will be tempted to do so? Not a comforting thought.
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Blue Cross-Blue Shield Bets Big On Obamacare Exchanges

(Kaiser Health News) [Most] non-Blue insurers “seem to be proceeding cautiously” in the online marketplaces expected to cover to millions, said David Windley, who follows the industry for Jefferies & Co., an investment firm. “They are evaluating markets state by state and in some cases region by region within the state to assess the viability of all the different pieces.”
Not the Blues. They’re expected to offer health-exchange plans nearly everywhere, ensuring at least a minimum choice for individuals seeking subsidized coverage when the marketplaces open Oct. 1. It also makes them an undeclared Obama ally in implementing the health law.
“The Blues will definitely participate,” said Ana Gupte, an insurance stock analyst for Dowling & Partners. “If there is an exchange I’m sure there will be the Blues.”
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Eating more red meat tied to higher diabetes risk

(Reuters Health) Increasing the number of hamburgers and other red meat people eat on a daily basis is linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes down the road, according to a new study.
"I think the difference is enough to encourage people at least not to increase red meat consumption, and then think about ways to reduce the consumption," said the study's lead author An Pan, a professor at the National University of Singapore, in an email to Reuters Health.
The study can't prove eating red meat causes diabetes, but past studies have tied eating it to the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is what happens when the body either does not produce enough insulin or ignores the insulin it needs to turn food into energy.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize type 2 diabetes.
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Insulin Sensitivity Improved With Mediterranean-Style Diet

(Medscape Medical News) Boosting daily consumption of unsaturated fat and reducing the proportion of carbohydrates resulted in improved insulin sensitivity at 6 weeks among adults without diabetes but with mild hypertension or prehypertension, according to results from a new study…
The authors evaluated data from the randomized controlled crossover Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease (OmniHeart), which investigated the effect of 3 healthful diets of differing macronutrient composition on blood pressure and lipids, with weight held constant.
"A diet higher in unsaturated fats, akin to the standard Mediterranean diet, is clinically meaningful and relevant as a means to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease in generally healthy adults.... We believe that our findings strengthen the case for the partial replacement of carbohydrates with unsaturated fats as means for diet-based prevention of cardiovascular disease," Dr. [Meghana D.] Gadgil told Medscape Medical News.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize type 2 diabetes.
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Getting Enough Sleep Could Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

(Science Daily) Men who lose sleep during the work week may be able to lower their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by getting more hours of sleep, according to Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) research findings…
The study … found that insulin sensitivity, the body's ability to clear glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream, significantly improved after three nights of "catch-up sleep" on the weekend in men with long-term, weekday sleep restrictions.
"We all know we need to get adequate sleep, but that is often impossible because of work demands and busy lifestyles," said [Peter Liu, MD, PhD]. "Our study found extending the hours of sleep can improve the body's use of insulin, thereby reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes in adult men. Reducing the incidence of this chronic illness is critical for a nation where diabetes affects nearly 26 million people and costs an estimated $174 billion annually."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize type 2 diabetes.
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20+ Breakthroughs to Reverse Diabetes

(Reader’s Digest) The latest science to improve your blood sugar, whittle your middle, eat healthier, and more.
Choose Dairy Daily
Women who ate the most low-fat dairy products had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes—and obese women benefited the most…
Eat the Rainbow
[A]dults with the highest fruit and vegetable intake (about six servings daily) had a 21 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who ate the least (about two servings a day)…
Skip This Side Dish
A recent Harvard study found the greater a person’s white rice intake, the higher his or her risk for developing type 2 diabetes…
Protect Yourself from Plastics
High blood levels of common chemicals called phthalates are associated with about double the risk of type 2 diabetes… They’re found in such wide-ranging products as building materials, clothing, cosmetics, and personal-care products, food packaging, toys, perfumes, and vinyl products…
Take a Stand
Researchers studied overweight and obese middle-aged adults and found that when they broke up a long bout (five hours) of sitting with two minutes of walking, their bodies had better control of postmeal glucose and insulin levels throughout the day compared to when they didn’t take such breaks…
Say “Om”
n a study from India, 123 people with diabetes who took yoga classes lost a few pounds and kept their glucose levels steady. In contrast, a control group that didn’t do yoga saw their levels rise. The bonus? Levels of cell-damaging free radicals—which play a role in diabetes complications like vision loss and kidney damage—fell 20 percent…
Up Your Omega-3s
Dutch researchers report that people with diabetes who take rhythm-protecting drugs plus a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids cut their odds for fatal heart trouble by a whopping 84 percent.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize type 2 diabetes.
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More News and Recent Research on Diabetes

(Reuters Health) Compared to a decade ago, fewer Americans have a cluster of risk factors that together can signal heart troubles and diabetes down the line, according to a new study. But while so-called metabolic syndrome is declining, some of its components - including large waistlines and poor blood sugar control, which carry their own risks - are becoming more common, researchers found.
(The New Old Age, New York Times) Starting next month, changes are afoot for Medicare beneficiaries who order diabetes supplies — testing strips and lancets — by mail. About 50 percent to 60 percent of diabetics on Medicare prefer to receive supplies in their mailboxes, a cheaper and often more convenient alternative to local pharmacies and storefronts… Medicare has instituted competitive bidding for mail-order firms that want to sell strips; it has signed contracts with just 18 carefully vetted companies nationwide… The process has cut prices sharply. Medicare previously paid $77.90 for 100 mail-ordered strips; now it will pay $22.47. That means co-payments plummet, too, from $15.58 to $4.49.
(MedPage Today) The whey protein component of milk may help blood glucose regulation, according to a series of experiments looking for the mechanism behind lower type 2 diabetes rates found with higher milk consumption… Diabetic obese mice fed the proteins had better glucose control than those that got a standard diet. The milk components also appeared to restore pancreatic islet cells' capacity to secrete insulin.
(Science Daily) A [research team] has generated patient-specific beta cells, or insulin-producing cells, that accurately reflect the features of maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY)… Transplanted into a mouse, the stem cell-derived beta cells secreted insulin in a manner similar to that of the beta cells of MODY patients. Repair of the gene mutation restored insulin secretion to levels seen in cells obtained from healthy subjects. 
(Science Daily) Insulin is the most potent physiological anabolic agent for tissue-building and energy storage, promoting the storage and synthesis of lipids, protein and carbohydrates, and inhibiting their breakdown and release into the circulatory system. It also plays a major role in stimulating glucose entry into muscle tissue, where the glucose is metabolized and removed from the blood following meals. But gaps exist in understanding the precise molecular mechanisms by which insulin regulates glucose uptake in fat and muscle cells. A research team … has made breakthrough advancements on a molecule that may provide more answers to this mystery.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize type 2 diabetes.
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Oldways African Heritage & Health:
Oldways African Heritage Recipes
The most powerful call to action to improve the health of African American families and communities is to get cooking! To help you celebrate the pleasures, culture, and healthfulness of African heritage foods in your kitchen, here are four simple, delicious recipes you can enjoy this summer with your family.
West Africa: Accara Black-eyed Pea Fritters
Accara are crispy black-eyed pea fritters that are a popular street food in West Africa. This recipe comes courtesy of Marie-Claude Mendy, former Top Chef winner and owner of Teranga Restaurant. Best served with Kanni, a zesty tomato dipping sauce, which is linked in this recipe.
South America: Avocado & Hearts of Palm Salad
Hearts of Palm are a Central and South American vegetable, with a delicate flavor and consistency similar to artichokes. This fresh salad is simple to put together and has a sweet and tangy dressing that makes it unforgettable.
The Caribbean: Easy Herb-Crusted Tilapia 
Tilapia, a fresh water fish native to Africa, has become one of the hottest seafood items on restaurant menus. Broiled, grilled, baked, or pan-seared, this white flaky fish is fast and easy to prepare. This recipe, courtesy of the Pescetarian Journal, uses fresh, minced greens as part of the lush crust. For Caribbean flare, spritz with lime and serve with grilled mango.
American South: Cabbage & Dill Summer Salad
A stunning side or mid-day snack of bright purple cabbage brings a colorful crunch to your plate. You can substitute cucumber for the cabbage to make an equally tasty pickled slaw.
Cobb Salad Pizza
Add quick-cooking chicken cutlets and refrigerated pizza dough to a mix of fresh vegetables for a light and lovely meal.
Flank Steak Pinwheels
These festive wheels of steak, Boursin cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes look fancy, but they're quite easy to make. For a party, arrange them on a platter atop a bed of spinach.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Pomegranate and Balsamic Glazed Poussin | Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego
Poussins (also known as spring chicken, coquelet and Cornish game hen) are young chickens and thus yield tender meat with extra flavor. The pomegranate and balsamic vinegar in the glaze adds a bit of tanginess to the thick sweetness of the honey required by the recipe. Because these are small, if you'll just be eating chicken, one poussin will serve one adult. For those of you who like experimenting, this glaze works wondrously well on other dishes.
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Summer Superfoods

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Summertime is the perfect season to get healthy by incorporating some well-established nutrient-rich superfoods into your diet…
Avocado has been found to help reduce the risk of heart disease because it contains beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol that can lower levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and raise good (HDL) cholesterol…
Studies show that eating high-fiber whole grains like bulgur can help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by stabilizing your blood sugar and insulin production. Another benefit of whole grains: They help prevent atherosclerosis by decreasing cholesterol absorption…
Beans, Beans, and Beans
Loaded with protein and fiber, beans are a South Beach Diet staple that help keep you feeling fuller longer. In addition, this superfood can help reduce LDL cholesterol, improve digestion, and lower your blood glucose level (making beans a great choice for individuals with diabetes.)…
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are nutritional powerhouses that can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promote normal eyesight, improve GI function, and reduce age-related memory loss. Broccoli also contains a sulfur compound called suforaphane that may increase the activity of cancer-fighting enzymes in the body…
Wild Salmon
Fatty cold-water fish like wild salmon are rich in the health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and play a positive role in improving brain function…
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes, as well as other bright orange vegetables, are a terrific source of carotenoids (including beta-carotene), along with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron. In fact, consuming these nutritious foods may help reduce blood pressure, fight cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and boost resistance to colds and other infections…
Berries, Berries, Berries
Berries of all kinds are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and fiber.
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How Circadian Rhythms Give Vegetables A Healthy Boost

(The Salt, NPR) [R]esearcher Janet Braam of Rice University and her colleagues conducted lab studies to test the possibilities of coaxing more life — and more of these beneficial compounds — out of the fruits and vegetables we buy.
They put cabbages under light for 12 hours a day, followed by 12 hours of darkness, to try to re-create the light-dark cycle in the field.
Prior research has already shown that plants use circadian rhythms to help them judge when to turn on their chemical defenses. Some plants release these beneficial chemicals to fend off bugs in the field or cope with the stresses of heat or drought.
"And sure enough we found that when we put the plants under light-dark cycles, we found periods of accumulation of those [beneficial] chemicals," explains Braam.
The peak of the compounds came in the afternoon, in the hours before dusk.
Community: How long will it be before we see light controlled fruits and vegetables in the grocery store? It will be good for marketing, but will they cost more?
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Best Uses for Olive Oil

(The Supermarket Guru) Extra virgin olive oil or EVOO is the finest and fruitiest of olive oil grades. It’s also the most expensive with a color ranging from deep hues of gold to greenish-gold to a bright, grassy green…
Don’t fry away your money - the International Olive Oil Institute recommends using pure olive oil for frying, since the flavor of higher-priced EVOO tends to break down at frying temperatures. Still, it’s fine to cook with inexpensive EVOO or virgin oil, or a combination of grades…
By stocking an assortment of oils at home, you can be ready to select whichever oil you prefer for specific uses. Just remember that olive oil is a perishable product. Proper storage - in a cool place out of the sun - will aid in its preservation. Olive oils are best consumed within a year of harvest and within a few months of opening the bottle.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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New Sun Care Secrets

(Women's Health) New FDA guidelines, along with the latest research, show that the type of screen you choose, and the way you apply it, impacts your protection…
Antioxidants Are Essential, Not Optional
[T]o get the most insurance, slather on an antioxidant serum every morning before your screen; ingredients like vitamin C, green tea, and resveratrol may help shield the skin from free radicals. Or you can multitask with a sunscreen that has antioxidants built in…
2 Coats Is the New One Coat
For proper protection, you need to apply a full ounce of sunscreen from head to toe--picture the amount in a shot glass. But this summer, make it a double…
Your Sunscreen Should Be Empty Before the Expiration Date
The stuff has an expiration date printed on the bottle for a reason: After that time, there's no guarantee you're going to get the full SPF promised on the label…
Nothing Is Truly Waterproof
Or sweat-proof. Which is why you'll no longer find either of those claims on sunscreen bottles--the FDA now forbids it…
Anything Under SPF 15 Is Useless
Low-SPF screens provide little to nothing to shield UVA rays, which are the insidious culprits of skin cancer and premature aging…
SPF Benefits From the Buddy System
To thoroughly shield yourself, [dermatologist Ellen Marmur, M.D.] suggests wearing a nonwoven wide-brim hat, sunglasses labeled with UVA and UVB protection ("The bigger, the better!" says Marmur), and a UV-protective rash-guard swim shirt over your bathing suit (it's estimated that a typical suit--without UV protection-has an SPF of around 5 when wet). And stay inside during the midday hours when it's most sunny. You can also pop an antioxidant pill.
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Are You Shrinking?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) How well you take care of yourself as an adult can affect the loss of height that comes with age, according to a new study from economists at the University of Southern California, Harvard and Peking University. Their study, involving data gathered on 17,708 adults in China, is the first to show that lifestyle choices made as an adult can influence how much height is lost with age.
It also found that the more height lost, the greater the likelihood of performing poorly on cognitive tests for short term memory, basic arithmetic and awareness of the date; that city-dwellers were less likely to lose height than those who lived in rural areas; and that more education correlates with less age-related height loss.
The researchers noted that an age-related increase in body fat and decreases in bone mass affect height. They also identified certain kinds of arthritis, inflammation of spine joints, and osteoporosis as contributing factors in losing vertical inches. Other studies have shown that these conditions are often associated with lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and smoking, the investigators said.
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Problems with snoring? Learn more here.

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Snoring is a very common condition affecting nearly 40 percent of adults. It’s more common among older people and those who are overweight. Find out what causes snoring and watch this video to learn what can be done about snoring.
The information on Sleep and Aging was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.
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Supplement checker helps you easily compare products

(Consumer Reports) Now you don't have to depend on the store clerk at the health food store to help you compare and choose a dietary supplement. A free online database launched this week let's you check the label and browse the ingredients and claims of brand name products, and find out what's included in those "proprietary blends".
The easy-to-use National Institutes of Health's Dietary Supplement Label Database lets you search by supplement ingredient or by product name. We searched vitamin D, for example, and found 342 products. Advanced Search then helped us further zero-in on the supplements of interest. Search results--including label images--can be saved to a spreadsheet, which can be handy for the (very necessary) discussion with your doctor or pharmacist about what you're taking.
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Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Are on Prescription Drugs

(Science Daily) Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic researchers say…
Seventeen percent of those studied were prescribed antibiotics, 13 percent were taking antidepressants and 13 percent were on opioids. Drugs to control high blood pressure came in fourth (11 percent) and vaccines were fifth (11 percent). Drugs were prescribed to both men and women across all age groups, except high blood pressure drugs, which were seldom used before age 30.
Overall, women and older adults receive more prescriptions. Vaccines, antibiotics and anti-asthma drugs are most commonly prescribed in people younger than 19. Antidepressants and opioids are most common among young and middle-aged adults. Cardiovascular drugs are most commonly prescribed in older adults. Women receive more prescriptions than men across several drug groups, especially antidepressants: Nearly 1 in 4 women ages 50-64 are on an antidepressant.
For several drug groups, use increases with advancing age.
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Report: Improper Use Of Rx Drugs Costs $200 Billion A Year

(Kaiser Health News) The U.S. spends $200 billion each year — about 8 percent of the nation’s health care tab — on medical care stemming from improper or unnecessary use of prescription drugs, a new report out Wednesday says.
Much of those costs result from unneeded hospitalizations or doctor visits, according to the study by the IMS Health’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which provides data and other consulting services to the health care industry. Medical costs are driven up by patients who don’t get the right medications or fail to take their drugs, the misuse of antibiotics, medication errors and inadequate oversight when patients take multiple drugs.
Even though the use of lower cost generic drugs is high, further increases could shave $10 billion in costs, the report says.
Some private and government pilot programs aiming to better coordinate patient care have helped reduce the problems, the report said. Some provisions in the federal health law that create financial incentives to better coordinate care and to reduce hospital readmissions may further that progress, said author Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
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