Just for the Health of It – October 2012

| October 1, 2012


Dreading the sting of your flu vaccine? Look away from that needle. A study in the journal Pain suggests that people who avert their gaze experience less discomfort during immunizations than folks who stare at the syringe. Try chatting with the nurse or focusing on the artwork in the room instead. Previous research has found that pleasant mental distractions inhibit the body’s pain response in its early stages.

Muffin Top – Beer Belly?

  • Belly fat is the most dangerous fat on your body, linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer.
  • For people over age 50, belly fat is often the easiest fat to lose.
  • Crunches and sit-ups don’t work
  • Diet and exercise together do work.
  • Danger zone: 35-inch or larger waist for women, 40-inch or larger for men.

Waist Not…

How to measure your waist circumference: Place a tape measure snugly around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone. Exhale. Then take the measurement.

One out of four American adults now have what experts call the metabolic syndrome. Its five features – a large waist, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and higher than normal (but not necessarily high) blood sugar, triglycerides, and blood pressure – often occur together. If you have at least three of the five, you have the syndrome, which means an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The Metabolic Syndrome  
Waist Size Women: more than 35 inch waist Men: more than 40 inch waist
Triglycerides* 150 or higher
HDL (good) cholesterol* Women: Under 50 Men: Under 40
Blood Pressure Systolic: 130 or higher or Diastolic: 85 or higher
Blood Sugar* 110 or higher

*Fasting. For some men, a 37-39 inch waist can be a risk factor. Source. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

You have the metabolic syndrome – a sign of insulin resistance – if you have any three of its five features.
What can you do?

  • Lose excess weight. Dropping 5 to 10 percent of your body weight should improve every feature of the metabolic syndrome.
  • Eat an OmniHeart-like diet. Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease (OmniHeart).[That’s a diet rich in vegetables and fruit but low in saturated and trans fat
  • Decrease carbs. There’s only room for four small servings of (whole) grains in an OmniHeart diet for someone who eats 2,100 calories a day.
  • Cut added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugars a day for women and nine for men. The 2,100 calorie OmniHeart diet has room for just two teaspoons. That includes the sugar in your cereal, yogurt, and sweets.
  • Eat fatty fish. Each gram of EPA plus DHA can lower triglycerides by 5 to 10 percent. A modest serving of salmon (4 oz) has one or two grams of EPA plus DHA. If you have high triglycerides and don’t eat fish, take fish oil capsules with two to four grams of EPA plus DHA a day.
  • Move. Aerobic exercise can help you lose weight and sidestep the metabolic syndrome.

Source: Nutrition Action Healthletter. July/August 2012

To find out more about the OmniHeart Diet, visit http://www.livestrong.com/article/302487-the-omniheart-diet/b

LOVING THAT COFFEE? Here’s a good reason to.

Coffee may keep you alive longer, whether you drink regular or decaf. Researchers tracked more than 400,000 men and women who enrolled in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study when they were 50 to 71 years old. Among men, the risk of dying over the next 14 years was 6 percent lower for those who drank one cup of coffee (decaf or regular) a day than for those who drank less. The risk was about 10 percent lower for those who drank at least two cups a day. Women who drank one cup a day had no lower risk of dying, but those who drank at least two cups a day had a 15 percent lower risk. Coffee drinkers were less likely to die of heart disease, respiratory disease, strokes, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections (but not cancer), though it wasn’t clear how many cups a day were linked to a lower risk for each illness.

What to do? This kind of study can’t prove cause and effect, but it adds to the evidence that some of the 1,000 compounds in coffee may protect health.  Beware though – Those designer coffees can add more calories and sugar and defeat its benefits.

KEEP MOVING – Exercise Cancer RX

Exercise may raise your odds of surviving breast or colorectal cancer.  Researchers at the National Cancer Institute reviewed 23 studies that tracked 37,500 breast cancer patients and 4,000 colorectal cancer patients for 3 to 13 years. Those who got regular exercise were less likely to die, even if they didn’t start exercising until after their diagnosis. Exercise may help by lowering insulin levels, curbing inflammation, and strengthening their immune system. “Adequate physical activity shold be a standard part of cancer care.” Wrote Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard School of Public Health in an editorial published with the study.


Category: Articles, Just for the Health of It

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