IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  February 1, 2013

Fabulous frittatas not only for Italians

After two months of holiday eating and a month of trying to diet off the pounds you have gained, hereís an inexpensive, healthy, and delicious option. Make a frittata for dinner. Itís actually an Italian-style unfolded omelet thatís baked in a skillet.

Most people use a cast-iron skillet because it can be transferred from the stove to the oven for the final cooking. But you can use any oven-safe skillet.

Vegetarians can skip the meat and use chopped vegetables. Carnivores can add bacon, diced ham, prosciutto or smoked salmon.

The basic recipe calls for eggs, milk, and one cup of whatever filling youíre using; most use shredded cheese.

The frittata is perfect for using up leftovers in the fridge and yummy enough to have for any meal. It also can be served at room temperature.

Smoked Salmon, goat cheese and dill frittata

8 eggs
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1 pat of butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
2 scallions, diced
1/4 pound smoked salmon, chopped
2 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Beat eggs in a large bowl with milk, salt, and pepper. Beat the goat cheese in with the egg mixture. Stir in the salmon, scallions and dill.

Over medium heat, melt butter in a 10-inch skillet. Pour egg mixture into the skillet and stir to combine. Then, cook on medium heat, without stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the eggs have begun to set.

Place skillet in the center of the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until eggs are firm; stick a knife in the middle to test doneness. It should come out clean. Remove frittata from oven and let cool for 1 minute. Cut into wedges.

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Snack on fiber and protein

Dieticians say it's best to eat more than one type of food to relieve break-time hunger or a craving.

For fiber: berries, apple, celery, wheat crackers, broccoli, carrots, or peppers.

For protein: cottage cheese, peanut butter, coconut butter, Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, hummus or black bean dip.

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Dance your way to better brain power

Everyone now knows that the exercise you get from dancing is good for your bones and your heart. If you've been putting off getting back to the dance floor, here's one more reason to start dancing again.

It can build your brain power!

A study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine shows that dancing twice a week for six months increases memory and cognitive function, especially among adults at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Dancing is different from other types of exercise that produce some of the same benefits. It's better because it's easier on the joints and doesn't cause injuries like exercises and jogging.

It has one other benefit. It can increase social skills, which experts quoted in Health say is also good for your brain.

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Chuckles Corner

Checkups recommended even if you feel fine

Wellness screenings can not only give you peace of mind, they can find potential threats at an early stage when treatment is most successful.

  • Eye Exams can spot degenerative conditions, and they can give you information about your overall health, says cardiologist Dr. Shyla High. The eyes are a window to your health and should be examined every year or two.
  • A skin exam by a dermatologist will check any suspicious moles using a special microscope. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Everyone from age 21 on should be tested, say dermatologists at the University of Minnesota.
  • For heart disease, the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that individuals age 20 or older have a fasting lipoprotein profile done every few years. And your blood pressure should be checked periodically from age 18 on. At-home screenings and free drugstore testing machines can help.
  • Thyroid disease comes on gradually and can have a variety of sneaky symptoms including insomnia, fatigue, dry hair and memory problems. It can be detected with a simple TSH blood test. It's often found in mid-life women. It's not as common in men, but they should be tested.
  • A diabetes blood test should be done on everyone age 45 and older. It should also be done on overweight people, even those younger than 45. If blood glucose is high, you could have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Both conditions are treatable.
  • A bone density test at mid-life can assure you that you're not heading toward osteoporosis. If you are, you can take a medication for it.

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    Suggestions for people with adult asthma

  • Those who would rather not use an inhaler can try pills called leukotriene-receptor antagonists (LTRAs). A study by the University of East Anglia shows that LTRAs block the action of immune-system compounds (leukotrienes) that create inflammation in air passages.
  • The researchers say LTRAs control mild asthma as effectively as steroid inhalers.
  • One Japanese trial shows that when people with asthma took the ancient Chinese herbal remedy called kampo, (gardenia fruit, licorice root and cinnamon bark) more than 90 percent reported improved symptoms after 16 days.
  • Another study, reported in Prevention, showed that asthmatics who took 1 gram of vitamin C daily for 16 weeks could lower their corticosteroid dosage without worsening their symptoms.
  • Fish oil capsules were recommended for people with exercise-induced asthma. Taking it daily improved lung function, and patients used inhalers 30 percent less often.

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    National Wear Red Day: February 1

    February is American Heart Month.

    In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Since 1963, February has been celebrated as American Heart Month to urge Americans to join the battle against heart disease.

    Since 2004, February also has been the signature month for the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women campaign, which emphasizes that heart disease is not only a man's problem.

    Know your numbers. Understanding your blood pressure reading, cholesterol levels and body mass index are an important part of preventing and managing heart disease.

    BLOOD PRESSURE: When someone checks your blood pressure, they are looking to see how much force is being put on your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body.

    In adults, the systolic pressure (top number) should be less than 120 and the diastolic pressure (bottom number) should be less than 80

    CHOLESTEROL: It's a soft, waxy substance found in all parts of the body.

    Having some cholesterol in your body is important because it's needed for several bodily functions.

    Having too much cholesterol can put you at risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. In general, you want your total cholesterol to be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), because that level carries the least risk of heart disease.

    BODY MASS INDEX: Your BMI estimates whether you are at a healthy weight. Being overweight puts strain on your heart and can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease. Here's how to calculate it:

    Multiply your weight in pounds by 703. Then, divide the answer by your height in inches. Divide that answer by your height in inches again.
    If the result is 24.9 or less, you're healthy. If it's higher, you are overweight or obese.

    To show your support for the Go Red For Women campaign, wear something red on February 1

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  • There are lots of calories in alcoholic beverages

    When you decide to have a beer or a glass of wine, the number of calories involved may not even be on your mind. But those calories can add up fast.

  • Men ages 20 to 39 consume the most alcoholic beverage calories, 174 calories a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • About 20 percent of men and 5 percent of women drink beer on any given day; 4 percent of men and 7 percent of women drink wine.
  • Caloric intake from alcoholic beverages was slightly higher in people with the highest income levels.
  • According to the University of Rochester, a 1.5-oz. shot of liquor has between 115 and 200 calories, compared to a 4-oz. glass of wine that has between 62 and 160.

    A 12-oz. can of light beer, depending on the brand you choose, may have 100 calories or more. Regular beer has between 140 and 200 calories.

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    Doctors are being cautious with the new MS pill

    Now that the new multiple sclerosis pill has finally become available, doctors are thinking carefully about who should take them. Doctors must decide who can give up the MS shots that have worked well in the past in favor of the easier pill treatment. The new pill is called Aubagio and was approved last September.

    The pills are more convenient, but could have serious side effects. If patients are stable on their current treatment, changing to pills may not be worth the risk, say doctors at Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center in Baltimore. MS is a neurological disease that strikes painfully in 250,000 or more people in the United States, about two-thirds of them women. It usually surfaces between ages 20 and 40

    Patients have periodic attacks of the symptoms. In part, MS drugs are measured by their effectiveness in reducing the recurrence of those attacks.

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    29 percent

    In a recent study, that's how many fewer colds people who exercised got compared with those who didn't, says HEALTH.COM. It's one more reason to put a walk or a jog into your day whenever you can.

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    The cold season lasts through March and April

    Deciding if you should stay home with your cold or go to work
    In the United States, more colds occur in fall and winter, but the numbers remain high until the end of April.

    Winter is on its way out, but you can still get a cold in February, March or April.

    Then you have to ask yourself whether you should drag yourself into work even if you're feeling awful.

    Some employers set policies to discourage coming to work with a cold. They offer a specified number of paid days off for any purpose, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

    Cold viruses survive for several hours on inanimate objects and on the skin, says The Wall Street Journal. Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant might help prevent the spread of infection.

    Epidemiologists at the University of Iowa recommend staying home for 24 hours after the fever and serious symptoms are gone.

    Bosses in the workplace wrestle with the two-sided problem of how to get people to come into work when they're healthy and how to keep them away when they're not.

    According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, more than two-thirds of all health-related productivity losses spring not just from sick people missing work, but also from employees with chronic or contagious ailments who show up and perform poorly.

    How to call in sick

    Most supervisors say they appreciate and respect a simple statement that an employee is too ill to work. If you give too many graphic details, try to sound sick with a fake cough, or say you have such a headache you can't think, it can bring suspicion that it's not the truth, according to experts at CareerBuilder, a hiring-consulting firm in Chicago. If you think an absence will cause career damage, touch base with co-workers with work-related emails. If you'll miss a meeting, ask to participate via teleconference.

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