Monday, August 29, 2011

Healthy choice for this Eid

A leading doctor is urging the Muslim community participating in the holy month of Ramadan to use Eid to reinforce the good habits they have achieved over the past month.
Many people use the month of fasting to also renew their spiritual energies by individual and group prayers, as well as not ingesting any material orally during daylight hours. This includes smoking.
Dr Gora Bangi, NHS Central Lancashire clinical commissioning executive committee chair, said: “If you can manage to go without a cigarette during these long days of fasting, then why not give up altogether?
“With Eid approaching, you can really use this time to reflect on the lifestyle changes you could make more permanent.
“Do you feel different for not smoking? Think about how much better you feel now, think of all the money you have saved in the past month. Many people also feel better in themselves, because they have a better spiritual base from which to work from – and the improvement in mental wellbeing is one of the many great benefits of Ramadan.”
NHS Central Lancashire is also urging people to be careful in the kitchen as Eid is typically a time for family gatherings and a significant amount of cooking and eating.
Dr Bangi said: “Fasting during Ramadan requires a lot of self-control when it comes to food. Use this opportunity to look at your portion sizes and what you eat normally to see if any changes can be made.
“Your stomach capacity may have shrunk. It is healthy to eat and drink not till you are full-to-bursting. Leave space, and it will leave you comfortable.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 10 Best Superfoods that will help you withstand any physical challenge

Food is fuel.Everyone is different. Age, weight, stress, gender, exercise intensity—all these things factor in to which supplements are important. At certain life stages many people require more of particular nutrient than their diet can provide, such as folic acid for women of childbearing age or calcium for pregnant and nursing women. And I’m sure you know that boning up on calcium may help some women stave off the brittle bone disease, osteoporosis. Calcium, combined with other nutrients, may also protect us against colon cancer.

Just as your health needs change over time as you enter new stages of life, so do your supplement needs. It’s a good idea to periodically review your supplement regimen to see if there are supplements you no longer need, or others you should add to your overall plan. Certain life-changing events, such as having surgery, being injured, losing a job or changing jobs, getting married or divorced, losing a loved one, and many other situations, can change your nutritional needs.

Endurance athletes can suffer up to 200 times the free radical damage of regular folks. But how many of them know which foods and supplements to consume to fight the damage and recover faster?

Research shows that the combinations of antioxidants in whole fruits and vegetables are more effective than isolated nutrients at neutralizing free radicals. Here are the 10 best whole foods for endurance athletes, plus the supplements that aid antioxidant performance and recovery.

Research has attributed cancer, stroke, and heart disease prevention, as well as brain health; anti-aging; and anti-inflammatory effects, to these little blue North American natives. Whenever possible, choose wild blueberries (usually in the frozen fruit section); they’re botanically distinct and came in at the top of the list in a 2008 Cornell University study of the antioxidant capabilities of 25 commonly consumed fruits and berries.

Tip: Several of the less-studied berries may also provide benefits. “For our athletes, we recommend the darker berries, such as pomegranate, acai, blueberries, raspberries, and goji berries,” says Ben Greenfield, an Ironman triathlete and coach based in Spokane, WA and Coeur D’ Alene, ID.

Walnuts are king of nuts in terms of total antioxidants, and they’re also rich in vitamin E, fiber, and minerals. But while nutrient-dense, nuts are also calorie-dense, and more than a handful can turn a healthy snack into a diet-busting meal. “For the average person, I don’t recommend much more than 2 servings [i.e., 14 walnuts—roughly one handful],” says triathlete trainer Greenfield.

Too many nuts can also disrupt the balance of essential fatty acids in your diet. “The calorie density doesn’t bother me as much as the unfavorable omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids ratio in nuts,” says Greenfield. Studies show a higher proportion of omega-6 promotes cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, while higher omega-3 consumption has the opposite effect. So treat nuts as a snack, not a meal.

Sweet Potatoes
Some of the worst (and most confusing) news about antioxidants is a group of studies that showed that the antioxidant beta carotene increased lung cancer rates. However, the studies were conducted using high doses of antioxidant supplements, not whole foods, and the lung cancer victims were largely smokers, not normal healthy individuals. For athletes, colorful beta carotene-rich foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, and peaches provide micronutrients as well as a healthy form of carbohydrate fuel.

Red Peppers

Scurvy (a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C) isn’t a concern for most modern landlubbers. Still, it’s vital to ensure you get recommended levels of the vitamin, as C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body and is involved in processes including bone formation, free radical scavenging, and building other important antioxidants. Also known as “ascorbic acid,” it is only found in plant foods. Oranges and lemons famously cured scurvy and are known for their levels of the vitamin, but raw red peppers actually rank at the top for C content. Other surprising foods ahead of citrus on the list are parsley and broccoli.

To preserve the nutrients in the peppers, eat them raw, steamed, or very lightly cooked.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds (yes, the same ones used on Chia Pets) are an ancient American staple known as “running food” to Aztec and Mayan cultures. The tiny, tasteless seeds recently got a nod in the paean to running Born to Run, as the primary fuel of the mysterious Tarahumara Indians of Mexico who run barefoot across miles of deadly canyons. Their unique nutrient profile makes chia seeds a great choice for endurance athletes. One tablespoon contains 6 g carbs, 6 g protein, 6 g fiber, and a very high level of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, making them a nutrient-rich energy source.

Whey Powder
Hey, wait a second. That’s not a brightly colored fruit or vegetable!

No, but whey powder can play an important role in helping the body synthesize a lesser-known antioxidant, glutathione.

“Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant and it has many immune-boosting functions such as maintaining blood levels of other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E,” says Brian St. Pierre, CSCS, a nutritionist at BSP Training and Nutrition. Since supplementing with glutathione isn’t effective, healthy levels depend on eating a variety of plant and animal foods.

Acai Berries
While research has shown that isolated antioxidant supplements such as lycopene pills don’t confer the same benefits as the whole foods they come from, whole food supplements such as juices and extracts can be a convenient way to get powerful doses of real antioxidants.

Acai berries, by nature of their large seeds and their production in the Amazon, are difficult to eat in their natural state. However, minimally processed frozen pulps for smoothies and juice extracts are widely available in the United States and deliver a unique flavor. Look for antioxidant extracts and juices without sugar or other low-cost additives such as apple and grape juices.

Antioxidant Supplements
Research and common sense overwhelmingly suggest that whole foods promote health better than isolated antioxidant supplements. Because the research on antioxidants is still new, St. Pierre says, “My advice would be to eat a lot of high-quality real food, which will contain a plethora of antioxidants, and have aided the health of humans throughout history.” However, there may be a time and place for the right kind of antioxidant supplement.

Greenfield recommends a “full-spectrum” supplement such as LivingFuel SuperBerry for hardcore athletes stressing their bodies to the point where it becomes difficult for them to eat enough fruits and vegetables to get enough antioxidants. “If you’re shopping for an antioxidant supplement, you should ideally be looking for all these ingredients: vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (tocopherols), vitamin A (carotenes), polyphenols, selenium, lutein and lycopene, and a high overall ORAC score.
Wild Salmon
Certain animal foods can help round out your antioxidant profile. Cold-water fish such as salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of the major chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. One concern is the high level of PCBs found in a majority of farmed salmon sold in the United States, which could negate some of the benefits of the antioxidants. To play it safe, look for wild Alaskan salmon, which have lower levels of contaminants as well as higher levels of omega-3s.

Obesity a brain condition, not just a lifestyle disorder

It has been stated by a controversial study that weight gain is more likely among people who are poor-decision makers and bad planners.

A link has been found between the executive part of the brain and obesity by researchers from the University of New South Wales following a review of 38 studies that were conducted on obesity and cognitive function. This part of the brain controls a lot like decision-making, planning, achieving goals etc.

They said, “The novel finding, which comes amid growing evidence of a link between obesity and dementia, meant obesity may be better treated partly as a brain condition like anorexia nervosa, rather than a lifestyle disorder.”

Obese people should face a test on cognitive remediation therapy, which helps people understand how they think and teaches them ways of changing it as this will generate a better picture about this link.

There definitely was a link between the two but when it came to whether cognitive deficits were a cause or consequence, nothing was clear.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Faster Help for heart attack patient

Hospitals all over the country are getting faster at giving lifesaving angioplasties to patients who have heart attacks, according to a report published today in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.

The five-year study of more than 300,000 patients found that the average time it took for doctors to perform an angioplasty -- a procedure used to open a blocked or narrowed artery in the heart -- after they were admitted decreased from 96 minutes in 2005 to 64 minutes in 2010.

During a heart attack, blocked blood vessels prevent the heart from getting the blood it needs to function. Angioplasty opens the blood vessels -- often using a balloon passed through the narrowed locations which is then inflated -- and, if performed quickly, can keep the patient's heart from getting damaged by a lack of blood.

Getty ImagesSurgeons performing angioplasty on a patient. View Full Size Getty ImagesSurgeons performing angioplasty on a patient.

Harlan Krumholz, the study's lead author, called the results "medicine in one of its finest moments.

"Five years ago, people believed it was impossible to get this done in under 90 minutes," said Krumholz , whose colleagues at Yale-New Haven Hospital gave a patient an angioplasty in 16 minutes last week. "This study means that for any American who has a heart attack, you can feel confident that you're going to get the procedure you need quickly."

Krumholz and his co-authors said the improvement is the result of concerted efforts by doctors, hospitals, federal agencies, and other groups to get more efficient in how they treat patients with heart attacks.

Previous practice guidelines have recommended that patients should get emergency angioplasty in less than 90 minutes after a heart attack. In 2006 and 2007, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association launched campaigns to get cardiologists and hospitals to lower their door-to-balloon times to give the best care to heart attack patients.
Mike Valentine, a cardiologist at Centra hospital in Lynchburg, Va., said patients with heart attacks there get angioplasty in an average of 43 minutes. Several years ago, the door-to-balloon time was about 80 minutes.

"Our times are excellent, but we try to never be satisfied," Valentine said. "We're constantly trying to improve those times and get that care to our patients faster

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Food Allergies in Kids more common...

Childhood food allergies More Common Than Thought..Survey Shows 8% of Children Under Age 18 Are Allergic to at Least 1 Food.
The study, a detailed survey of families with at least one child younger than 18, shows that 8% of kids under age 18 are allergic to at least one food. Surveys for about 38, 000 children were completed.

Previous studies, including a government survey published in 2009, had pegged that number at around 4%.

Allergies to peanuts were the most commonly reported, affecting 2% of kids. Milk and shellfish allergies ranked second and third. Tree nuts, egg, fin fish, strawberry, wheat, and soy rounded out the top nine food triggers.

"This study shows that there's a very high, and higher than we thought, prevalence of food allergy in the U.S." says Susan Schuval, MD, pediatric allergist at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., who was not involved in the study.
Many food allergies in children are mild and fade over time. But in other cases, reactions to food can be dangerous and even deadly.

The new study offers one of the first estimates of these severe reactions in children, showing that 40% of kids with food allergies experience severe symptoms such as wheezing and anaphylaxis, which is characterized by difficulty breathing and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Preparing Safe Meals and Snacks
Families with food allergies often have to change the way they eat and the way they shop for groceries."Finding safe options that children are willing to eat can be a challenge," says Marion Groetch, RD, a dietitian at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Families have to learn how to prepare safe meals and snacks from whole foods and also how to find allergen-free convenience items."

Reading product labels is also an important habit in attempting to avoid reactions to food allergies. The FDA requires that the 8 major dietary allergens (milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and crustacean shellfish) be fully disclosed on product and ingredient labels. But other minor ingredients may not appear on packaging so clearly. If you have questions about something your child might ingest or eat, you should call the manufacturer before you serve it to them.

"There's always a risk of hidden ingredients," says Bahna. "Labeling is not always complete, nor clear."

Preparing meals and snacks at home allows you to have greater control over the ingredients used in your child’s food. There are many cookbooks and web sites that can help you design an allergen-free diet for your child.

For special events, like birthday parties, Rhonda Lewis will call ahead of time to ask whether the cake is from a nut-free bakery. If not, she'll send an amazing dessert so her daughter "doesn't feel like she's missing something if she's eating something different."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Healthcare Insurance Tips

Healthcare Insurance Tips To Help Save Your Money.....
Are you planning to get new health care insurance coverage for yourself? Well, this is simply a great idea because in the days of rising expenditure it becomes absolutely essential to cover up the cost of the medicines and to receive the maximum health benefits.

There are different kinds of insurance policies available under different kinds of plans. You must always try to compare and find out the one which you think is the most suitable option for you and can save your money to a great extent.

Tip 1: Check Out The Different Options Available
You might not be aware of the fact but this is true that there are plenty of options on the insurance of health care coming up every day. Therefore before purchasing any of them, you must know about the different options available to you. There are chances in this case that you would be able to save your money on the purchase of the insurance.

Tip 2:
Go For Lower Monthly Premiums
There are many insurance companies that can offer you the option of paying lower monthly premiums in lieu of paying more costs of out of pocket. These out of cost expenditure might include the co payments for the services, the yearly deductible and even the medicines that are prescribed. Therefore if you think that you are healthy now, you can of course think of giving more out of pocket expenses this would definitely help you to.