IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  March 1, 2008

Quiche makes a hearty, healthy Sunday brunch

When a quiche comes to mind, you may think of a delicate French egg-custard pie.

But, the French didn't create it. Quiche was a hearty meal that originated with the tough guys in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen ruled by Germany.

The word comes from the German "Kuchen" meaning cake. It consisted of a pastry shell or bread dough stuffed with egg cream custard and lots of smoked bacon. It satisfied the hungry men and women.

Frenchmen later added cheese and onions and gave their quiches the surnames of Lorraine and Alsacienne.

The British served quiche to American service men and women during World War II, but some GIs thought their versions were not manly fare.

Now, served as breakfast or lunch, quiche can have many ingredients such as ham, seafood bits, broccoli, a variety of cheeses. and several spices to round out its flavor.

Quiche is now enjoyed by new generations of diners. They appreciate its many flavors and its many health benefits. The eggs, cheese, and bacon are loaded with protein. The cheese has plenty of calcium, and the tomatoes and spinach give it a nutritional boost.

A Quiche for All Seasons

In a large mixing bowl, whisk five large eggs until smooth and blended.

Add 1/3 cup of cream or half and half, and 1/2 cup of crisp bacon pieces (seven slices).

Add 1/3 cup of diced tomatoes, 1/3 cup of chives, 10 spinach leaves cut into small pieces, and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Season with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic buds, eight dashes of salt, freshly-ground pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

Stir the ingredients until they are well mixed and place in a nine-inch deep dish pie crust, previously prepared from a family recipe or purchased at the store.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the crust is brown and its custard is solid.

Cut like any pie and serve at any meal. The entree can be accompanied by a cup of seasonal fruit or a spinach, nut, and fruit salad.

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March is colorectal cancer awareness month

One type of cancer is preventable, predictable and treatable

It's a scary word. Cancer can seem to strike out of the blue. But one type, colon cancer, is predictable, preventable and treatable.

  • To predict it, consider how you eat. The western style diet is high in fat, calories, meat, and sugar. Fats may reach the colon in an undigested form where they can produce substances that damage the colon lining. The western diet has high concentrations of meat. That may lead to constipation, which is a factor in colon cancer.
  • As with almost any disease, smoking is a risk. It transports carcinogens to the colon. And studies show the polyps of smokers are larger.
  • To keep your colon healthy, eat the same foods that are good for your heart including fruits, vegetables, lean meat in smaller quantities, and plenty of whole grains and other foods with a high fiber content.
  • If you approaching age 50 or are beyond that point, schedule a colon cancer screening. By age 50, one in four people have colon polyps which could become cancerous, according to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
  • Polyp removal is an easy procedure which can often be done at the time as a colonoscopy.

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    Brain Food

    Columbia University Medical Center reports that the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia can be reduced by 40 percent if your diet is rich in fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fish, and olive oil.

    Risk will be reduced by 76 percent if you drink fruit or vegetable juice three times a week.

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  • Watch your mouth!

    It's not just what comes out of your mouth that is important. It's also what is in it.

    The American Dental Association reports that many consumers aren't even aware of oral cancer of the mouth and throat, even though it causes twice as many deaths as cervical cancer.

    Only half of all people who are diagnosed survive for five years, according to the American Cancer Society. The death rate is high because oral cancer often isn't diagnosed early enough, making treatment less effective.

    A five-minute checkup by a doctor or dentist could save many lives.

    What they (and you) should look for:

  • Patches of white, red or mixed white and red. Feel for sore places on the lips, roof of the mouth, cheeks, and gums.
  • A sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn't heal.
  • Bleeding in the mouth.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing.
  • A lump in the neck.
  • Continuing earache.

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    Tai Chi recommended for relief of pain

    Tai chi is technically one of the martial arts, but its emphasis on slow, fluid movement seems also to be effective against chronic back pain.

    Tai Chi is one of a number of mind-body techniques, such as meditation and yoga, that are increasingly prescribed for chronic pain. The Tai Chi exercise programs, or sets, are like slow dances, emphasizing graceful, gentle, but continuous, movement.

    Proponents of Tai Chi have long claimed their practice reduces stress, depression, and anxiety while increasing strength, balance and flexibility.

    According to Pain Medicine (September 2007), studies show that meditation and Tai Chi improved functioning in older adults with chronic low back pain. Researchers reported that Tai Chi's mind-body interaction is effective and safe.

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    Experts say kidney disease is treatable

    These two bean-shaped organs are not impressive-looking. But the kidneys are packed with about a million tiny structures called nephrons. The nephrons remove waste and extra water, which then becomes urine.

    Damage to the nephrons may leave kidneys unable to remove waste. The damage occurs slowly, however, so you don't know it's happening.

  • Kidney disease is treatable. Your doctors can do tests to detect it.
  • People with diabetes or high blood pressure are at the highest risk.
  • Having family history of kidney disease means you should be tested for it occasionally.

    In most cases, kidney disease does not cause pain or discomfort near the kidneys. There are very few nerves that sense pain in the kidney.

    About 10 million Americans have kidney problems ranging from chronic kidney disease to kidney stones, and more serious conditions.

    If you have already had a kidney stone, drinking a daily glass of orange juice can keep another one from developing, according to a study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

    It used to be thought that citrus juices such as those found in lemonade would work to prevent further stones. New information shows that orange juice works far better.

    What else you drink could also make a difference in the health of your kidneys, but the jury is out on that. Some experts recommend avoiding beer, wine, and liquor. Some studies show these have little or no effect. Either way, it's a good idea not to overdo.

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  • Sleep well, live longer

    Doctors at the Sleep Health Centers in Boston report a study that shows getting less than six hours of sleep a night increases the risk of dying. During the next eight years of the study, dying of heart-related diseases increased by 110 percent. That's more than double.

    It makes sense, they say. When you sleep, your blood pressure drops, your heart rate drops, and the heart doesn't have to work as much.

    The optimum sleep time reported was six to nine hours.

    Sleeping more than nine hours a night was also risky. It increased the risk of death from noncardiovascular causes by the same percentage.

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    A drug combo for diabetics

    Diabetes can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. By giving patients a fixed-dose of the ACE inhibitor perindopril (Aceon) plus indapamide (Lozol), doctors can dramatically reduce the risk of these complications even if the patient doesn't have high blood pressure.

    The multinational study was done for the ADVANCE Collaborative Group and reported in The Lancet.

    It shows that diabetes may be undermedicated. Patients who are not hypertensive are not given blood pressure medication. As a result, patients who might benefit from the drug combo don't receive it.

    Statins may delay Alzheimer's

    A brain tissue study of deceased Alzheimer's patients by the University of Washington showed fewer of the tangles and plaques in the tissue of patients who had taken statins.

    The authors conclude, however, that statins are more likely to help prevent the disease in certain individuals than in others.

    Most kids grow out of ADHD

    The cortex, or outer layer of the brain, is responsible for tasks like planning, paying attention, and suppressing inappropriate actions.

    Now, studies reported by the National Institutes of Health show that in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the cortex development can be three years or more behind that of children without ADHD.

    The condition affects 3 percent to 5 percent of all school-age children.
    The good news is that by age 13, the cortex of ADHD children has caught up and is the same as that of other kids.

    During the period when the cortex is catching up, the doctors say it's important for these children to take Ritalin.

    A few key areas of the brain that relate to attention and focus develop more typically with the medication. Without it, development could fall behind.

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    Cooking pot pies

    Next time you microwave a pot pie, be sure to check the instructions. ConAgra foods has reported that some sickness has occurred from undercooking its Banquet, Healthy Choice, and Kid Cuisine pot pies.
    Previously, the front of the package said, "Ready in 4 minutes. Microwaveable." On the back in smaller type it specified that four minutes applied to medium or high-wattage microwaves.

    The new package recommends cooking four to six minutes on a microwave with 1,100 watts or more, and not in lower-powered ones.

    FDA to focus on salt

    Most Americans consume three times the recommended amount of salt, most of which comes from processed food. If the kidneys can't eliminate enough salt, it accumulates in the blood. That increases blood volume, makes the heart work harder, and puts more pressure on the arteries.

    The FDA is considering requiring salt warnings on some food products and limiting salt in processed foods to 140 mg preserving They recommend choosing processed foods that say "low sodium content" on the package.

    Be cautious with alcohol

    While there is evidence that moderate drinking may lower the risk of heart disease, there is a reason doctors don't prescribe a drink or two a day.

    Doctors don't prescribe it for a good reason. Alcohol can kill.

    "Excessive drinking" (More than two drinks a day) causes some 75,000 deaths a year, making it the third-leading cause of preventable death. Smoking is first, followed by a combination of poor diet and inactivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    About 45 percent of alcohol-related deaths are from chronic conditions, and 54 percent are from acute conditions including car crashes.

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