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

Prevention Incentives in Healthcare: Do They Work?

(Science Daily) A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down -- and so do movie tickets, cell phone minutes and discounts on airline flights.
A private South African health plan increased patient use of preventive care such as mammograms and influenza vaccine with a program that incentivized healthy behavior using discounts on retail goods and travel. The study … was led by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the RAND Corporation…
"Even though most people know that preventive care is important, too few people take advantage of it," said Ateev Mehrotra, associate professor of health care policy at HMS and a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Incentive plans like this try to reinforce those long-term gains with more immediate rewards."
Encouraging the use of preventive care and other healthy behaviors among patients is a core element of efforts to improve the quality and value of health care, including the Affordable Care Act.. Learning how to encourage healthy behaviors is crucial for these efforts, and little is currently known about which incentive techniques work.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to change habits by improving impulse control.
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4 Steps to Break Bad Habits

(Sharecare.com) Creating smart strategies and reinforcing healthy choices ("No cookies in this house!") helps your brain adopt healthy habits. Try these steps:
1.    Change your environment. Always eat fries and a shake in the cafeteria? Find a new locale and bring healthy food into it. Repeat and eat; repeat and eat. Pretty soon that becomes your pattern.
2.    Make breaking the bad habit your mantra. Turns out telling yourself to shape up ("I will not drink soda!") actually helps. Interrupting the cycle of impulse and reward, even temporarily, gives you time to consciously not do something.
3.    Get enough sleep every night… Being tired makes it easy to slip back into your bad habit.
4.    Enlist support. Bring friends, family, support groups, a therapist, and even your dog into your battle to create a new, good habit.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to change habits by improving impulse control.
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6 Ways to Boost Your Self-Discipline

(Eva M. Selhub, M.D.) Self-discipline is really about loving yourself and developing new habits, which not only help you reach your goals, but also help you truly improve yourself. In other words, it is a positive effort, not one of denial or negativity.
This is how you get there:
1. Set clear goals so when it comes down to it, you can think first, act later.
When you have knowledge that a greater reward is at stake, you are going to have an easier time letting go of instant gratification…
2. Motivate to win and remember that life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you.
Anxiety stems from the belief that you are not in control of your life circumstances, that you are somehow not enough or do not have enough to handle whatever challenge you are facing, and therefore a victim of life's circumstances. Changing your mindset to being a victor of your life sets the stage for you to regain your power…
3. Know your triggers and control the stress response:
Certain situations, people or even foods will cause your stress response to be triggered. Your job is to pay attention… [Recognize them and prepare yourself for them]…
4. When in doubt, choose love:
Oxytocin, the love hormone, reduces activation of the neural circuitry involved in anxiety and stimulates the reward circuits in the brain. You can tap into the physiology of love, or the Love Response, in a variety of ways including spending time with your friends, getting a massage, being outdoors in nature, meditating, and most importantly, by acting kindly towards yourself…
5. Ignore sabotagers and naysayers:
On that note, you want to avoid being influenced by other people around you who project their insecurities or judgments upon you. Stay focused on your long term goals…
6. Get some accountability buddies:
ither enlist other friends or family members to join you or ask for their support to remind you of your long-term goals. The key here is that no one is allowed to nag you, reprimand you, or cause you to feel guilt or shame.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to change habits by improving impulse control.
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More Information and Recent Research on Behavioral Change

(Washington Post) The Pounds Lost study teaches us that rather than focusing on the rigidity of the latest, greatest diet and forcing dramatic eating-habit changes, save yourself a few bucks and possibly a series of spousal spats. Aim instead to make small and steady changes.
(Sharecare.com) Are you craving a cookie? Eat it! Research shows that stifling a craving just makes it worse. In this video, Robin Miller, MD, discusses how picking your battles—and eating sensibly—can help you stay on track even if you eat the occasional treat.
(Science Daily) If you are trying to quit smoking, one method to incorporate is to do new, exciting “self-expanding” activities that can help with nicotine craving. This is the take-home message from a new study. "Our study reveals for the first time using brain imaging that engaging in exciting or what we call 'self-expanding' activities, such as puzzle-solving, games, or hobbies with one's partner, appears to reduce craving for nicotine," said one researcher.
(Reuters Health) The authors of a new study say that manipulating alcohol drinkers' sense of control can counteract the negative feelings that motivate them to drink… "The techniques that we used both improved drinkers' motivation and decreased their urges to drink alcohol," [researcher Miles] Cox said. Those techniques included giving positive feedback along with reminders to relax and hints on how to complete specific tasks.
(Science Daily) Small financial incentives, totaling as little as £30, can dramatically increase the likelihood of people who inject drugs completing a course of hepatitis B virus vaccination, according to new research. Researchers in the UK found that people undergoing treatment for heroin addiction who received a maximum total of £30 supermarket vouchers in equal or graduated installments in return for full compliance with a regimen of three HBV vaccine injections were at least 12 times as likely to complete the course within 28 days compared to those not receiving a financial incentive.
(Science Daily) Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, may prevent the depletion of self-control, according to research. Self-control can be difficult -- sticking with a diet or trying to focus attention on a boring textbook are hard things to do. Considerable research suggests one potential explanation for this difficulty: Exerting self-control for a long period seems to "deplete" our ability to exert self-control effectively on subsequent tasks.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe
Substitute lower-sodium soy sauce if fish sauce is difficult to find. The flavor won't be as complex, but soy sauce will still add a salty note. You can also substitute thinly sliced Thai bird chiles or jalapeño for the sambal oelek—or leave it out completely if you'd rather enjoy a mild dish. Serve with Brown Rice with Sesame and Sautéed Snow Peas and Peppers.
EatingWell:
Moroccan-Citrus Chicken with Grilled Peach-Lime Salsa
A potent blend of citrus zests and juices along with a quartet of aromatic spices makes this healthy and quick chicken marinade recipe amazing. For this sweet and peppery salsa recipe, fresh peaches are caramelized on the grill before being diced and stirred together with chopped jalapeño, lime juice and zest plus a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro. Serve the salsa with the grilled chicken or with a basket of chips.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution:
chicken kebabs
Light and tasty, this kebab recipe will give you a taste of summer even if it isn’t quite warm enough to get the barbie out. The salsa works well with all kinds of chargrilled or barbecued meat.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Tulsi Kebabs
'Stolen with permission' from Chef Lala Sharma from Savoury, NYC, where Chef Sharma presents modern Indian cuisine and puts a lighter and healthier focus on his dishes, with fresh flavors that pop, influenced by Western and Southern Indian cooking. 
Washington Post:
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Food News

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) [The NuVal system] is  the first and to date only nutrient profiling system shown to correlate directly with both the rate of total chronic disease, and all-cause mortality. In a Harvard study of over 100,000 people, higher average NuVal scores meant a lower likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or dying prematurely from any cause over a 20-year period of observation.
(Science Daily) A high-fructose, high-fat diet can cause harmful effects to the livers of adult rats, according to new research, providing new insight into the effects of adding fructose to a Western diet high in fat. The study showed that short-term consumption of a Western diet, rich in saturated fats and fructose, is more damaging for healthy liver development than following a high fat diet alone.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Researchers in Finland have found that eating salmon and other oily fish three or four times a week positively changes HDL, the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart disease. Eating lots of oily fish is associated with increased numbers of larger-sized HDL particles. That’s a desirable change, since large HDL particles are the most effective at sweeping up deposits of cholesterol that build up on artery walls and raise the risk of heart attack. The study participants ate fatty fish such as salmon, rainbow trout and herring prepared without butter or cream.
(The Supermarket Guru) Great weather grilling is in full swing and SupermarketGuru just wanted to remind you of some safety tips and practices you should keep in mind while grilling. Here are five important tips for a safe BBQ, picnic, or summer dinner - that can be used year round!
(The Atlantic) Now that Chobani has conquered the yogurt category, its competitors are trying to make an even healthier health food.
(LiveScience) People who eat more rice also tend to have other healthy habits, research shows.
(Reuters Health) Switching to a diet low in simple sugars and high in healthy fats, like the types found in canola oil, could help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, according to a new study.
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How politics derailed EPA science on arsenic, endangering public health

(Center for Public Integrity) Under orders from a Republican-controlled Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001 established a new drinking-water standard to try to limit people’s exposure to arsenic. But a growing body of research since then has raised questions about whether the standard is adequate.
The EPA has been prepared to say since 2008, based on its review of independent science, that arsenic is 17 times more potent as a carcinogen than the agency now reports. Women are especially vulnerable. Agency scientists calculated that if 100,000 women consumed the legal limit of arsenic every day, 730 of them would eventually get bladder or lung cancer from it.
After years of research and delays, the EPA was on the verge of making its findings official by 2012. Once the science was complete, the agency could review the drinking water standard.
But an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that one member of Congress effectively blocked the release of the EPA findings and any new regulations for years.
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Can swimming pool water make you sick?

(Consumer Reports) Yes. Poorly maintained pools and other water facilities may harbor bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can lead to ear infections, colds, pneumonia, or stomach illnesses.
Before you jump in, check to see whether the pool looks clean (you should be able to see the bot­tom), the pump and filtration equipment are working (you should hear them humming), and the pool walls feel smooth, not slimy. Also ask employees about the chlorine and pH levels, which should be checked at least twice per day. Chlorine should be 1 to 3 parts per million; pH between 7.2 and 7.8 ppm.
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Politicians' Prescriptions For Marijuana Defy Doctors And Data

(New York Times) New York moved last week to join 22 states in legalizing medical marijuana for patients with a diverse array of debilitating ailments, encompassing epilepsy and cancer, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s. Yet there is no rigorous scientific evidence that marijuana effectively treats the symptoms of many of the illnesses for which states have authorized its use.
Instead, experts say, lawmakers and the authors of public referendums have acted largely on the basis of animal studies and heart-wrenching anecdotes. The results have sometimes confounded doctors and researchers.
The lists of conditions qualifying patients for marijuana treatment vary considerably from state to state. Like most others, New York’s includes cancer, H.I.V./AIDS and multiple sclerosis. Studies have shown that marijuana can relieve nausea, improve appetite and ease painful spasms in those patients.
But New York’s list also includes Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and epilepsy, conditions for which there are no high-quality trials indicating marijuana is useful. In Illinois, more than three dozen conditions qualify for treatment with marijuana, including Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, Arnold-Chiari malformation and nail-patella syndrome.
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Sex Hormone Levels at Midlife Linked to Heart Disease Risk in Women

(Science Daily) As hormone levels change during the transition to menopause, the quality of a woman's cholesterol carriers degrades, leaving her at greater risk for heart disease, researchers … discovered.
The first-of-its-kind evaluation, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was done using an advanced method to characterize cholesterol carriers in the blood…
"We found that lower levels of estradiol, one of the main hormonal changes that mark menopause, are associated with low-quality cholesterol carriers, which have been found to predict risk for heart disease," [said lead investigator Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.]. "Our results suggest that there may be value in using advanced testing methods to evaluate changes in cholesterol carriers' quality in women early in menopause so that doctors can recommend appropriate diet and lifestyle changes."
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New blood test warns 10 years in advance if lifestyle may put women at risk of breast cancer

(Daily Mail) A new blood test could tell women if their lifestyle is putting them at risk of developing breast cancer.
Scientists say the test could identify those who are in danger ten years before any symptoms appear. This would give them time to take preventative action – which can be as simple as exercising regularly or losing weight – long before the disease gets a hold. The breakthrough could see women in their 50s and 60s having regular tests to monitor their risk level by the end of the decade. 
If the scientists’ hopes are realised, the test could lead to dramatic falls in  the number of women who suffer from breast cancer.
The finding, by scientists at University College London, involves the first breast cancer screening tool that monitors the scale of  damage to genes from environmental factors such as smoking, diet, alcohol  consumption and the chemicals we come across in everyday life.
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Some Aggressive Cancers May Respond to Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

(Science Daily) New research raises the prospect that some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers … found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
The tumors that activate this particular antiviral pathway always have dysfunctional forms of the proteins p53 and ARF, both encoded by genes known for being highly mutated in various cancers. The investigators found that the two genes compensate for each other. If both are mutated, the tumors that form are more aggressive than if only one of these genes is lost.
When both genes are lost and the antiviral pathway is activated, patients may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called JAK inhibitors, currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis.
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'Nanosubmarine' Designed That Delivers Complementary Molecules Inside Cells

(Science Daily) With the continuing need for very small devices in therapeutic applications, there is a growing demand for the development of nanoparticles that can transport and deliver drugs to target cells in the human body.
Recently, researchers created nanoparticles that under the right conditions, self-assemble -- trapping complementary guest molecules within their structure. Like tiny submarines, these versatile nanocarriers can navigate in the watery environment surrounding cells and transport their guest molecules through the membrane of living cells to sequentially deliver their cargo.
Although the transport of molecules inside cells with nanoparticles has been previously achieved using various methods, researchers have developed nanoparticles capable of delivering and exchanging complementary molecules. For practical applications, these nanocarriers are highly desirable, explains Francisco Raymo…, lead investigator of this project.
"The ability to deliver distinct species inside cells independently and force them to interact, exclusively in the intracellular environment, can evolve into a valuable strategy to activate drugs inside cells," Raymo says.
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Clinical trials: More Trials, Fewer Tribulations

(Scientific American) In December last year, a breast-cancer trial for the experimental drug neratinib captured industry attention — but the buzz was not just about the drug.
What was unusual was the trial itself. Known as I-SPY 2, it assesses multiple drug candidates in parallel, instead of the usual practice of one at a time. The approach is part of a wave of efforts to reform the costly and time-consuming process of drug approval that often fails to take into account the complex realities of cancer biology.
In I-SPY 2, each drug is screened in patients whose tumours have specific molecular profiles. The trial ‘learns’ as it accumulates data, so rather than randomly assigning new patients to just treatment or control, it uses early results to adjust recruitment. Made by Puma Biotechnology in Los Angeles, California, neratinib was just one of five targeted compounds being tested, and all were designed to selectively block signalling pathways involved in tumour growth.
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Exclusive: In virus hunt, Saudi Arabia suspects African camel imports

(Reuters) Saudi Arabia suspects a virus that has killed hundreds of people there may have arrived in camels from the Horn of Africa, and could ban such imports until it knows more, the kingdom's chief scientist told Reuters.
Any ban on the camel trade with the region would badly hurt the already fragile economy of Somalia, which is a major livestock exporter to Saudi Arabia.
Tariq Madani, who heads the scientific advisory board of the Saudi health ministry command and control center (CCC) - set up to handle the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS - said scientists are currently testing camels at sea ports before authorities allow them in.
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Mississippi law allowing drug tests tied to welfare delayed

(Jackson Clarion Ledger) A state law set to take effect July 1 allowing drug testing of some welfare recipients has been delayed until after a public hearing in late July.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services agreed to a request to delay the law that would require Temporary Assistance to Needy Families applicants to complete a questionnaire and possibly be drug tested, until the end of a public hearing and comment period.
Under the law, anyone who applies for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will have to answer a questionnaire. If the answers indicate the possibility of substance abuse, the person will have to take a drug test. Anyone testing positive would have to receive treatment to receive cash assistance.
If the person tests positive for drugs after receiving treatment, the assistance would end.
Community: They want to make receiving welfare as shameful as they possibly can. I think these laws are despicable.
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Veterans Agency Has 'Corrosive Culture,' US Report Says

(Bloomberg) The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department’s medical system is hobbled by management with little accountability and a “corrosive culture,” according to an interim White House report.
The medical system, beset by a scandal over extended waits for appointments and allegations of falsified records to cover up those delays, often ignores directives from its central office and rejects criticism, according to a summary of the report by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors.
The report, released yesterday, validates months of reports of delayed medical care for veterans that led U.S. lawmakers to criticize the Obama administration and prompted the departure of the department’s secretary, Eric Shinseki. The health-care system, with more than 1,700 facilities serving 8.76 million veterans annually, needs wide-ranging changes, the report said.
The department must address “significant and chronic systemic failures,” and restructure the Veterans Health Administration, it said.
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U.S. Health Spending Tracks Global Trend

(MedPage Today) Other industrialized countries have been experiencing the same variations in health spending growth over the past 30 years as the U.S., a new analysis found, suggesting that the factors driving these ups and downs are not unique to the U.S.
In every period since 1980 during which growth in U.S. healthcare spending dramatically outpaced the rest of the economy, the same thing was happening in most other countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which represents the world's major industrial powers, according to David Squires, MA, of the Commonwealth Fund in New York City.
Similarly, when spending growth slowed significantly in the U.S. -- including the period since 2009 -- the same was seen among OECD nations generally, Squires wrote.
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Health Care or Disease Care: Which Would You Choose?

(Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D.) The new science of "health" care that has emerged in the 21st century is creating the opportunity to be successful in preventing and treating chronic diseases. In a successful therapeutic relationship, practitioner and patient work in partnership to create health rather than treat disease. To determine if your doctor is focused on health care or disease care, here are five questions you need to ask yourself:
     Does your doctor discuss your diet, activity patterns, work place environment, and stress patterns with you?
     Does your doctor do a comprehensive health history including all of your signs and symptoms?
     Does your doctor ask you whether your overall health has changed over the past year?
     Does your doctor discuss connections with you about how your various signs and symptoms might relate to a specific cause?
     Does your doctor discuss a personalized lifestyle medicine program for you?
More and more of us are living with chronic illness, and it is an expensive proposition. In fact, unless we implement drastic change, the numbers tell us we could be on a headlong course toward a frail, sick old age in which we will spend much of our time going to doctors and popping pills. It doesn't have to happen. Dramatic scientific discoveries have put in our hands the power to avoid the collision with debilitation and illness, setting the stage for a veritable revolution in health care.
Community: Here’s why your doctor may not discuss these issues with you:
(Washington Post) Does your doctor ever talk to you about nutrition or exercise? No? You’re not alone. Polling shows that fewer than one-eighth of visits to physicians include any nutrition counseling and fewer than 25 percent of physicians believe they have sufficient training to talk to patients about diet or physical activity. And the number of hours devoted to teaching future physicans about nutrition in medical school has actually declined recently.
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Diet or Exercise? 'Energy Balance' Real Key to Disease Prevention

(Science Daily) A majority of Americans are overweight or obese, a factor in the rapid rise in common diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and more. According to a paper…, energy balance is a viable public health solution to address the obesity epidemic. The paper outlines steps to incorporate energy balance principles into public health outreach in the U.S…
[It] gives the following recommendations:
     Integrate energy balance into curriculum and training for both exercise science and nutrition professionals and strengthen collaborative efforts between them
     Develop competencies for school and physical education teachers and position them as energy balance advocates
     Develop core standards for schools that integrate the dynamic energy balance approach
     Work with federally-funded nutrition programs like the Cooperative Extension Service and school lunch programs to incorporate energy balance solutions
     Develop messaging and promotional strategies about energy balance that American consumers can understand and apply to their lifestyle
     Map out and support existing programs that emphasize energy balance
"Our health professionals are currently working in silos and must work together to educate and promote energy balance as the key to better health" said Manore. "The obesity crisis is one of the greatest public health challenges of our generation. Energy balance can help us work toward a solution so our children aren't saddled with the same health challenges we currently face. "
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Health Impact of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

(HealthyPeople.gov) The health impact of eating a healthful diet and being physically active cannot be understated. Together, a healthful diet and regular physical activity can help people:
·         Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
·         Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
·         Reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer
·         Strengthen muscles, bones, and joints
·         Improve mood and energy level
Chief among the benefits of a healthful diet and physical activity is a reduction in the risk of obesity. Obesity is a major risk factor for several of today’s most serious health conditions and chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and osteoarthritis. Obesity also has been linked to many forms of cancer.
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Here's Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier

(Huffington Post) Here are seven ways the outdoors make us healthier.
Getting outside makes exercise easier.
Research conducted at the University of Essex showed that the color green, such as that found on trees, grass and other plants in nature, makes exercise feel easier…
It can spur weight loss
Simply spending time at high altitude could help shed some pounds, even if you're just visiting…
Nature increases brain function
Kids who spent time in green, outdoor spaces reported fewer symptoms of ADHD, even when the exact same activities were compared.
Taking a stroll can also increase creativity…
It amps up vitamin D intake…
[Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D.] suggests what he calls "sensible sun exposure." That means only going out in the sun for about one third to one half of the amount of time it would take your skin to mildly burn, or roughly 10 to 15 minutes for many…
The outdoors may even help us age gracefully.
Research published in the Journal of Aging Health shows that getting outside on a daily basis may help older people stay healthy and functioning longer…
Nature is great for stress-reduction.
Spending time in nature has been shown to lower stress levels, Seattle-based environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon tells The Huffington Post…
The outdoors make us happy.
In addition to helping decrease stress levels, spending more time with nature shows a shift toward more positive moods, says Heerwagon.
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More Information and Recent Research on General Health

(Christina Pirello, Huffington Post) In the end, life itself is a terminal condition. None of us are getting out of this alive. But wouldn't it be nice to eat a delicious diet of health-creating foods and enjoy each minute we have in wellness? Skip junk food in any form and concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods and I am pretty sure you'll experience your own personal nirvana of wellness.
(,Daniel J. Schultz, Huffington Post) Healthy food needs to become easier to access, all while making unhealthy food harder to obtain. This should not be accomplished by prohibiting food, but rather by employing social and food science engineering for healthy food, which is currently being utilized by junk food companies.
(Huffington Post) “There are brilliant studies done on the centenarians -- these are the 100-year-olds," [Dr. Pamela] Peeke says. “And what we found was that a) most of them wouldn’t know a gym if they walked through it, b) they’ve never had a personal trainer, and c) they just simply get up and rock and roll through the day -- it’s called activities of daily living. We stopped doing that -- we just sit there. So how about we just bring it on like a 100-year-old? Clearly, physical activity across the board in all the 100-year-olds' studies is one of the biggest and most important things you can do. But notice I never said the 'E' word, I didn’t say 'exercise,' I said physical activity. ... Simple, simple things you can do.”
(Laura McMullen, U.S. News & World Report) Well, you should be nice just to be nice. But good deeds are healthy, too.
(Sharecare.com) Many people experience serious health changes after retiring from the workforce. In this video, HealthMaker William Mobley, MD, PhD, lists the possible reasons for these physical and mental changes.
(CBS News) A new study … found that adults who watch TV three hours or more a day may be twice as likely to die prematurely than those who watch an hour or less… "Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors," study author Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez…, said in a statement.
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Recipes

SouthBeachDiet.com:
7 Summery Superfood Recipes
Summertime is the perfect season to get healthy by incorporating some well-established nutrient-rich superfoods into your diet. Here, we showcase seven superfoods in delicious dishes you'll want to make all summer long.
MyRecipes.com:
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
This refreshing, no-cook summer roll recipe offers menu flexibility: Serving two rolls constitutes an entrée, or you can serve one as an appetizer. Either way, the zesty, delicious dipping sauce is a must.
EatingWell:
Summer Vegetable Pasta With Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions
This vegetarian pasta recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables—sweet spring onions, tangy cherry tomatoes and plenty of baby spinach. Goat cheese medallions are coated with panko and lightly crisped under the broiler, making this a restaurant-worthy yet super-simple and impressive weeknight dinner.
Consumer Reports:
4 healthy smoothie recipes for summer
Many smoothies are refreshing and delicious, but it's not so easy to find one that's also nutritious. Made with whole fruit and vegetables, each of these four drinks is a tasty way to sneak in some of your five a day. They're also packed with protein and fiber, so they're perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Appetite for Health:
Tropical Mango Sorbet
This Tropical Mango Sorbet is and is one of our favorites because it only calls for 2 Tbsp of sugar. Since mangos are naturally sweet, it’s no wonder that mango-based sorbets are so popular. With more than 20 different vitamin and minerals, mangos are a nutritional all-star.  They’re rich in vitamins A, C and contain potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin K and fiber. You can enjoy a cup of sliced mango for just 100 calories.
Chatelaine:
Five low-calorie summer drinks that are actually good for you
Forget fat-filled iced lattes and sugary flavoured waters. These homemade summer drinks will leave you just as satisfied, minus the calories.
The dairy-free treat you'll fall in love with for summer
Cool off this summer (minus the sugar-filled calories) with these strawberry-banana ice pops.
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Food News

(Medscape) An analysis of the primary-prevention PREDIMED study provides  further evidence as to why a Mediterranean diet is able to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In a substudy of the trial, investigators report that individuals who adhered to the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin oil had significant regression of the carotid vessel-wall volume compared with those who ate a control diet low in saturated fat.
(The Telegraph) A mix of Indian spices has lowered blood pressure in rats, researchers have revealed.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Research indicates regular consumption of garlic may: 1. Alter how cholesterol is metabolized in the body, making it less likely to oxidize. 2. Lower blood pressure and decreasing clot formation, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. 3. Combat respiratory infections such as common colds and sore throats. 4. Reduce fungal or yeast infections… I suggest chopping garlic and letting it sit for 10 minutes to get the full health potential that garlic offers.
(Eat + Run, U.S. News & World Report) From fancy ice cubes to kebabs, put that fruit to use.
(LiveScience) The benefit of probiotics is that they introduce healthy bacteria to the gut and create a barrier to reduce inflammation, which can trigger certain skin conditions, said Dr. Whitney Bowe… As more research emerges, here are four skin conditions that seem the most promising for probiotics, according to Bowe. Acne… Eczema… Rosacea… Anti-aging.
(Tod Marks, Consumer Reports) [F]resh seafood costs a bundle… One economical option popping up at many stores is swai, which is native to Southeast Asia—Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia—and sells locally [Yonkers, N.Y.] for around $3.99 a pound… Swai is a white-flesh fish (typically available in fillet form) with a sweet mild, taste and light flaky texture that can be broiled, grilled, or coating with bread crumbs and fried, according to experts.
(ThinkProgress) The state's highest court refused to reinstate Bloomberg's ambitious regulation against supersize sodas.
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Alcohol and CVD: The Tippling Point

(Medscape) If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. If you don't drink, don't start.
So says the current advice of the American Heart Association in relation to alcohol and prevention of cardiovascular disease…
The "goldilocks" amount of alcohol is said to be 1 to 2 drinks daily. However, amounts in or near this level have been associated with an increased risk for hypertension, an effect the pro-alcohol lobby say is explained by heavier drinkers who underreport their intake. This uncertainty about the true drinking status of study populations is at the crux of the debate on alcohol and cardiovascular health.
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One in 10 deaths among working-age adults due to excessive drinking

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Excessive alcohol use accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age adults ages 20-64 years in the United States, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010, and shortened the lives of those who died by about 30 years.  These deaths were due to health effects from drinking too much over time, such as breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease; and health effects from drinking too much in a short period of time, such as violence, alcohol poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes.  In total, there were 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year due to excessive alcohol use.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Vitamin D Blog: Could Vitamin D Play a Role in Blood Pressure?

(MedPage Today) Low levels of vitamin D may play a causal role in the development of hypertension, researchers found.
Each 10% increase in vitamin D concentration was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure…, lower systolic blood pressure…, and reduced odds of hypertension…, according to Karani Vimaleswaran, PhD, of University College London, and colleagues…
The study is timely, because there's been a discrepancy between findings of observational effects of vitamin D -- which have been strong -- and the weaker effects found in trial results, according to an accompanying commentary by Børge G. Nordestgaard, PhD , and Shoaib Afzal, MD, PhD, both of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
But the study also had some limitations; for instance, the researchers couldn't completely rule out that some results were due to chance. Nordestgaard and Afzal urged caution in interpretation of the data.
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