IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  January 1, 2009

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

More than two million Americans age 40 and older suffer from glaucoma, the sneak thief of sight. About half of these people don't know they have the disease. It causes no early symptoms.


Flat Iron Steak in Sauce Excelente

The proof is not only in the steak but in the sauce that enhances it. Once a lowly left-over of the butchering shop, today the flat iron not only commands a gourmet following but a price to match.

Sliced from the peaked mound of the chuck blade, this cut drew its name from its shape … that of the old flat clothes iron.

Like its peasant relatives, the skirt steak and the flank steak (all of which can be substituted in this recipe), this cut previously sold for a pittance. (Chuck roast and Swiss steak can also be used but are more expensive.)

Many recipes call for first marinating a flat iron steak but when just seared on the outside and brought to a warm medium rare on the inside, it can attain the tenderness of a petite filet.

Flat Iron Steak Excelente

2 pounds of skirt, flank, flat iron, chuck or Swiss steak
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
The sauce
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly cut rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon fringed leaves of fennel
4 tablespoons Italian dressing
4 tablespoons malt vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
1 tablespoon meat tenderizer
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh or minced garlic
1/3 cup grenadine syrup.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Coat the meat on both sides with butter, salt and pepper. Sear it in a skillet until charred on both sides but leaving the inside medium rare. Make a cut in the meat to check rareness.

Reduce the heat to medium and ladle the sauce onto it, alternating from side to side. Let simmer for 10 to 12 minutes and serve. Serves four.

The meat is well accompanied by a baked potato and salad.


Improve bone density

Since you could live to age 90, it pays to preserve or increase the strength of your bones. Weight-bearing activities stimulate bone to react by increasing bone density. They include walking, running, push-ups, weight lifting, and anything done while on your feet.

Some research, say doctors at Duke University, shows that gardening and doing yard work once a week is better than walking or jogging if you already have osteoporosis.


Beer: as good for you as wine

The main heart-helpful component in wine is alcohol. Beer has it too. It also contains folate and other B vitamins.

Beer is a rich source of silicon, a mineral that fights osteoporosis, according to the British Medical Journal. Beer has antioxidants that fight diabetes, kidney stones and arthritis. And it contains healthful soluble fiber. Moderate drinking does not cause "beer belly." Many wines have more calories per serving.


Chuckles Corner

Some tips for increasing male fertility

If you have had little luck in starting a family, there are things you can do, and we don't mean spending $150,000 on in vitro fertilization.

Doctors now know that the problem of inability to conceive lies as often with the man as with the woman, but many causes are reversible.

  • Check your prescriptions. Those that affect fertility include antidepressants like Prozac, beta blockers for hypertension, the stomach ulcer drug Tagamet, and pain medications like morphine and oxycodone. Avoid anabolic steroids and testosterone creams and medications, which decrease production of sperm.

  • Do it more often. Have sex every other day during ovulation, about 10 to 18 days after a woman's period starts. Columbia University's Dr. Harry Fisch, author of The Male Biological Clock, says that after five days without sex, a man has a higher volume of fluid. It dilutes the concentration of sperm and makes sperm less active.

  • Stay fit. Anything that makes the body unhealthy, such as a disease, toxins or excessive alcohol use will decrease fertility.
  • Lose weight. Fat converts testosterone to estrogen in men who are obese or have a waist circumference of more than 40 inches. Anti-estrogens like Clomid can be used for the problem.
  • See a urologist. Check for a blockage that can easily be corrected.


    For the best results Use your DPI inhaler correctly

    If you use a dry powder inhaler (DPI) to treat asthma or obstructive lung disease, you may think there's not much to it. But one study showed that 32 percent of users were not using it correctly, which significantly reduced its benefits.

    The DPI requires a measured, forceful inhalation to ensure that the powdered medication gets deep into the lungs. Inhale too quickly and the power ends up at the back of your throat.

    Inhale too slowly or gently, and the powder doesn't go anywhere. If you accidentally exhale while using it, the powder can get blown away.

    Advair instructions note that the Diskus is designed to be used level to the mouth, not held up or down.

    If you use a DPI to treat the symptoms of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but don't use it correctly, your condition can progress, or you may experience acute episodes that require hospitalization.

    DPIs include the Advair Diskus, Foradil Aerolizer, Pulmicort Turbuhaler, Severent Diskus, and Flovent Diskhaler, Diskus and Rotodisk.


    Oatmeal with raisins: a convenient, sweet dish for a cold winter day

    Would you like to protect your heart, fight cancer, boost your bones and have a sweet treat for breakfast?

    A toaster pastry won't do it, but a dish that's almost as convenient will. Try oatmeal and raisins.

    You might be too busy to cook, but placing equal amounts of regular oatmeal and water (2/3 cup) in the microwave, adding a handful of raisins and cooking for a minute and 20 seconds will bring you a great breakfast.

    It has a chewy, sweet, nut-like flavor. Raisins are called "nature's candy," but you can also add fake sugar to sweeten even more without adding calories.

    Use regular oatmeal instead of instant. The difference in microwave time is only a few seconds, and you get more of these health benefits:

    Insoluble fiber and phytochemicals that are cancer fighters. Oatmeal has soluble fiber that reduces bad cholesterol without lowering the good kind.

    People who eat oatmeal are less likely to develop heart disease. They think better and don't get hungry before lunch. And oats are good sources of many other vitamins and nutrients.

    Raisins have high antioxidant activity that prevents cell damage. They are one of the best sources of boron, which is vital to bone health.

    Raisins are a fruit that can lower your risk of macular degeneration.

    You add milk, of course, a rich source of calcium and vitamin D.


    Don't forget to wash

    It's the cold and flu season. That can make you think twice about going to places where you will come in contact with a lot of people as you would at the mall or in a crowded cafe. Some of those people will be contagious.

    In those circumstances and at work, your best protection is hand washing. Anything you touch could carry the flu virus, but it does wash off.

  • Memory Perk: Take a walk and eat a fish

    Though they are some distance from each other in your body, your heart and your brain are linked.

    Doctors at the American Heart Association say that when the brain is fueled by plenty of oxygen-rich blood, it works much better and can even reduce age-related tissue damage.

    Brain tissue is vital for memory and cognitive function. To keep your blood pumping and your brain functioning at its best, take a brisk walk every day or get some other exercise, whether it's in the gym or around the block.

    What you eat also affects how well you remember someone's name or what you were thinking about before you were interrupted. Omega-3s found in fish and fish oil promote healthy brain functioning. They contain DHA and EPA that are both vital to proper functioning of the brain. If you don't eat fish regularly, a supplement is advised.

    And fish oil can make you look better too. It gives skin a more vibrant look by enhancing the production of collagen and elastin.
    Fish oil lowers the risk of heart disease by increasing HDL, the good cholesterol, and it increases serotonin production, a hormone that tends to make people happy.

    It also reduces inflammatory pain from arthritis and reduces or eliminates dry eye syndrome.

    So take a walk and eat a fish. Don't forget.


    New window of opportunity for stroke treatment

    It has been thought that clot-busting medicine would only help stroke sufferers if given up to three hours after symptoms occurred. Only a third of stroke victims seek help that fast and less than five percent are now given TPA, the drug that breaks up clots and opens the artery.

    A new study now suggests that clot-busting is successful even if given four hours or more after the event. A study by European doctors found the treatment to be effective up to 4 1/2 hours after the start of symptoms.

    Doctors caution that it's important to get immediate attention if a stroke is suspected. Call 911 immediately.

    Fruity drinks, soft drinks, compared for diabetes risk

    What's better, a fruit drink or a bottle of sweet soda pop? The unhappy verdict, according to a Boston University study, is that fruit drinks contain as many calories as soft drinks, and some contain more. Both increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of their high calorie count, which causes weight gain.

    The study of women showed those who consumed two or more soft drinks per day had a 24 percent greater risk compared with those who drank one per month. Women who consumed two or more sweet fruit drinks had a 31 percent increased risk.

    Fruit drinks do not include grapefruit or orange juice, which are not associated with greater diabetes risk.

    Take vitamin D with food

    Doctors at the University Hospital Zurich and elsewhere emphasize that it is important to take vitamin D supplements of 800 to 1000 IU. The benefits of vitamin D continue to be found, especially as an addition to calcium for strong bones.

    Vitamin D is fat soluble. It will not be absorbed unless there is some fat consumed at the same time. If taking it without food, at least drink a glass of milk with it.

    Higher fiber diet can improve breathing

    The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences studied middle-aged people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Those who had the highest daily fiber intake had better lung function than those with the lowest fiber intake.

    Recommended intake: 30 to 38 grams for men, 21 to 25 grams for women.

    Fan protects against SIDS

    A study reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows that babies who slept in a room with a fan running were 72 percent less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). By improving air circulation infants are less likely to breathe exhaled carbon dioxide. The gas fills the gap between a baby's face and the mattress.

    Always put babies to sleep on their backs, and never smoke near a baby.

    Keep stuffed toys, loose bedding and soft bumpers out of the crib.
    Give the baby a pacifier. The handle keeps the baby's face from becoming pressed against the mattress.