Archive for January, 2010

Plants and Medicine

Posted in Medicine on January 31st, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Did you know that over 40 percent of medicines that are prescribed in the United States contain chemicals derived from plants. Without plants, most medicines you take would not exist!!

When our ancestors drank tea made from the bark of a willow tree, they noticed that their aches and pains went away. Scientists later found that the bark of a willow tree contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. And the native Pacific yew was burned for many years as trash in the Pacific Northwest by logging operations, then in 1975, taxol, a substance in its bark, was found to reduce the production of cancerous tumors.

It is an enormous task to search of known plants for medicinal chemicals, but chemists and botanists (those who study plants) continue to search the plant kingdom throughout the world, including the wild places in the United States, for new medicines.

Only 2 percent of the estimated 250,000 plant species on earth have been thoroughly screened for chemicals with potential medicinal use. Native plant habitats are destroyed almost daily, so before scientists can even investigate them, many medicinally valuable plants will be gone.

Source – PCA-MPWG (Plant Conservation Alliance – Medicinal Plant Working Group)

Unproven Prevention Methods for the Common Cold

Posted in General on January 30th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

There are many products that people take to avoid catching the common cold, including…

Echinacea
Echinacea is used by some people to reduce symptoms, treat, prevent, and/or shorten the duration of the common cold.

Echinacea is a perennial (year round) herb that is available in tablets, capsules, tinctures, teas, squeezed juice, extracts, ointments or preparations for external use.

Echinacea may help treat a cold if taken in the early stages, but it will not help prevent colds. Studies are also mixed on whether or not echinacea can prevent or effectively treat upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, but some studies have shown that echinacea may be beneficial. A research study did find that echinacea is not effective at all in treating children aged 2 to 11.

Vitamin C
Lots of people are convinced that if they take large quantities of vitamin C, it will prevent colds or relieve symptoms.

There is no conclusive data that has shown that large doses of vitamin C prevent colds. Vitamin C may reduce the severity or duration of symptoms, but there is no clear evidence that it will.

  • Warning:
    Large amounts of vitamin C taken over long periods of time may be harmful, causing severe diarrhea, especially for elderly people and small children.

Honey
Some people use honey as a treatment for coughs and to soothe a sore throat. Honey may be useful to relieve coughing, but more research is needed.

  • Warning:
    Do NOt give honey to children under the age of one because of the risk of infantile botulism, a serious disease.

Zinc
You can buy zinc lozenges and/or zinc lollipops in a store as a treatment for the common cold. Although studies have shown zinc to be effective for reducing the symptoms of the common cold, studies have also shown that zinc is not effective. This may be due to the form of zinc that was used, or due to flaws in the way the studies were conducted. More studies are needed.

Bone Strengthening Activities

Posted in Exercise, Workouts, & Fitness on January 29th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Bone strengthening activities produce a force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength. This force is commonly produced by impact with the ground. Your feet, legs, or arms support your body’s weight, and your muscles push against your bones. Some bone strengthening activities can also be aerobic and muscle strengthening activities.

Some examples of bone strengthening activities include:

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Dancing
  • Figure Skating
  • Gymnastics
  • Hiking
  • Hopping
  • Hopscotch
  • Jogging
  • Jumping
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jumping rope
  • Karate
  • Lifting weights (an age-appropriate program)
  • Resistance bands
  • Running
  • Skipping
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tae kwon do
  • Tag
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Walking

Children and adolescents should include bone strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.

Physical Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy

Posted in Pregnancy on January 28th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

For your health and safety, and for the health of your baby, you should not do certain physical activities while you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about all physical activities that you should avoid during your pregnancy. Some physical activities to avoid are: (incomplete list)

  • Avoid being active outside during hot weather.
  • Avoid steam rooms, hot tubs, and saunas.
  • Avoid physical activities, such as certain yoga poses, that call for you to lie flat on your back after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Avoid contact sports and activities that may cause injury, such as football and boxing, and horseback riding.
  • Avoid activities that make you jump or change directions quickly, such as tennis or basketball. During pregnancy, your joints loosen and you are more likely to hurt yourself when doing these activities.
  • Avoid activities that can result in a fall, such as in-line skating or downhill skiing.

Soft Water – Hard on Germs

Posted in General on January 27th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Washing chicken skin using soft water removes up to 37 percent more bacteria, like Campylobacter, from chicken skin than hard water.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists made this discovery while exploring how best to reduce contamination at poultry processing plants.

Hard water has high levels of calcium and magnesium and is softened by reducing these minerals.

Campylobacter bacteria are found in the intestinal tract of birds and can contaminate the bird’s carcass during processing. Staphylococcus is normally found on the skin of the birds, and Pseudomonas is a type of spoilage bacteria that can be found in processing water.

Distinguishing Soft Water From Hard Water
The best way to distinguish soft water from hard water is the soapiness factor. Soap and toothpaste do not lather up as quickly in hard water as in soft.

There are no pertinent health concerns whether your water is soft or hard, but if you have hard water and want to change, you can purchase a water filter which removes the magnesium and calcium.

Source: www.foh.dhhs.gov/eapnews/

Diabetes Risk Test

Posted in Diseases & Disorders on January 26th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

25 percent of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have the disease. This diabetes risk test can help you learn the risk for type 2 diabetes and whether you should follow up with a doctor to take steps to protect your health.

Know Your Score Widget. Flash Player 9 is required.
Know Your Score Widget.
Flash Player 9 is required.

How to Control Your Calories

Posted in Weight Loss - Weight Gain on January 25th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Eating fruits and vegetables provides many benefits. One benefit is calorie control.

Many fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans, peas, or lentils) are low in calories, high in volume, and are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help you feel full without eating too many calories.

Different vegetables are rich in different nutrients, so aim for a variety of vegetables throughout the week, including those that are dark green and leafy, orange, and starchy. And don’t forget to include dry beans and peas.

Adding fruits, vegetables, and legumes to your diet can help you get the most nutrition out of the daily number of calories you’re supposed to eat.

The foods below can pack more calories into each bite. Choose them less often… or not at all.

  • Fried foods
    Eggs fried in butter, fried vegetables, french fries
  • Fatty cuts of meat
    Bacon, brisket, regular ground beef
  • Full fat milk products
    Full fat cheese, full fat ice cream, whole milk and 2% milk
  • Dry snack foods
    Crackers, pretzels, cookies, chips, dried fruits
  • Higher fat and higher sugar foods
    Croissants, margarine, shortening, butter, doughnuts, candy bars, cakes, pastries

Example of Two Fast Food Meals

Posted in Nutrition on January 24th, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

1. Not So Healthy Meal
Quarter Pounder with Cheese
Serving size – 7 oz
Calories – 510
Calories from fat – 230
Total fat – 26 grams (40 percent of your daily value)
Saturated fat – 12 grams (61 percent of your daily value)
Trans fat – 1.5 grams
Cholesterol 90 mg (31 percent of your daily value)
Sodium – 1190 mg (50 percent of your daily value)
Sugars – 9 grams

Large French Fries
Serving size – 5.4 oz
Calories – 500
Calories from fat – 220
Total fat – 25 grams (38 percent of your daily value)
Saturated fat – 3.5 grams (17 percent of your daily value)
Trans fat – 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium – 350 mg (15 percent of your daily value)

Large Coca-Cola Classic
Serving size – 32 fl oz
Calories – 310
Sodium – 20 mg (1 percent of your daily value)
Sugars – 86 grams

Total:
Total Calories 1320
Total Calories from fat – 450
Total fat – 51 grams (78 percent of your daily value)
Saturated fat – 15.5 grams (78 percent of your daily value)
Trans fat – 1.5 grams
Cholesterol 90 mg (31 percent of your daily value)
Sodium – 1560 mg (66 percent of your daily value)
Sugars – 95 grams

OR

2. Healthier Meal
Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
Serving size – 11 oz
Calories – 220
Calories from fat – 60
Total fat – 6 grams (10 percent of your daily value)
Saturated fat – 3 grams (15 percent of your daily value)
Trans fat – 1.5 grams
Cholesterol 75 mg (25 percent of your daily value)
Sodium – 890 mg (37 percent of your daily value)
Sugars – 5 grams

Small French Fries
Serving size – 2.5 oz
Calories – 230
Calories from fat – 100
Total fat – 11 grams (18 percent of your daily value)
Saturated fat – 1.5 grams (8 percent of your daily value)
Trans fat – 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium – 160 mg (7 percent of your daily value)

Water
Serving size – 32 fl oz
Calories – 0
Sodium – 0
Sugars – 0

Total:
Total Calories 450
Total Calories from fat – 160
Total fat – 17 grams (28 percent of your daily value)
Saturated fat – 4.5 grams (23 percent of your daily value)
Trans fat – 1.5 grams
Cholesterol 75 mg (25 percent of your daily value)
Sodium – 1050 mg (44 percent of your daily value)
Sugars – 5 grams

Healthy Diet

Posted in Nutrition on January 23rd, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

The United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy eating plan as one that:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts.
  • Is low in cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and salt (sodium).
  • Stays within your calorie needs.

Also, how you choose to prepare the foods you eat, or how you order your food when you are eating out can quickly turn a less healthy food into a healthier option.

Choose baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, and microwaved foods. This saves you from eating extra fat and calories.

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

Posted in Recipes on January 22nd, 2010 by marie – Be the first to comment

Servings - 10

Ingredients
1/2 cup pinto beans
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2 cup black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
46 ounces tomato juice
5 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Soak and cook beans according to the package directions.
2. Drain the water and set beans aside.
3. Sauté vegetables in sauce pan with olive oil until golden brown.
4. Add beans and vegetables into a soup pot, add the tomato juice and stir together.
5. Add all spices.
6. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (mg = milligrams)
Calories – 110
Total Fat – 3.5 grams
Saturated Fat – 0.5 grams
Cholesterol – 0 mg
Sodium – 540 mg
Protein – 4 grams
Carbohydrates – 17 grams
Dietary Fiber – 5 grams
Calcium – 4% Daily Value