IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  June 1, 2012

Blueberry buckwheat pancakes are both healthy and delicious

For centuries, pancakes have been a favorite on the breakfast table.

Besides being warm and tasty, they can be heart healthy when made with the right ingredients. Keys of their preparation are whole wheat flours and low-fat milk.

Additionally, these buckwheat pancakes are sweetened only by the natural flavor of the blueberries and a bit of honey.

Blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup whole grain pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup non-fat milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups fresh blueberries
Cooking spray.

Various syrups and low fat buttery spread as desired.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and add canola oil, honey and milk. Stir thoroughly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, spices and other dry ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring constantly.

Last, add the blueberries and stir until the fruit is well-distributed throughout the batter.

Coat the skillet or griddle with non-stick cooking oil and drop dollops of batter on the heated surface. As the pancakes form, turn them with a spatula until they are done on both sides.

Serve with your favorite toppings. The recipe makes two large pancakes for each member of a family of four. Left-over batter can be stored in the fridge for several days and it also may be frozen.

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Exercise brings better sleep, less daytime fatigue

A report in Mental Health and Physical Activity, shows that people who get 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) feel less fatigue during the day and sleep better at night.

Researchers studied 3,081 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85 to determine nighttime sleep patterns. Those who met these National Institute of Health exercise guidelines were less likely to report sleepiness during the day, less likely to experience leg cramps while sleeping, and less likely to have difficulty concentrating when tired.

The doctors also concluded that those who were more active during the day fell asleep faster at night.


It's a fact Pink pork is OK to eat

The Department of Agriculture says that pork only needs to be cooked to 145 degrees with a three-minute rest time. Previously, the cook time was recommended to be 160 degrees because trichinosis, the ancient parasitic disease, could be present. Trichinosis is no longer found in commercially grown pork.

The recommended time for cooking ground pork and ground red meat is still 160 degrees. For poultry, the recommended well-done temperature is 165 degrees because there is a danger of E. coli infection.


Chuckles Corner

The 'Fish Story' gets better

The proven benefits of eating fish seem to be growing all the time, say researchers at Tufts University. Still, too many Americans don't take advantage of the benefits of fish. Consider this:

They feed your brain. MRI scans show that people eating broiled or baked fish on a weekly basis had greater volumes of gray matter in the areas responsible for memory and learning. Over a 10-year period, they were less likely to have developed Alzheimer's disease.

Omega-3s have big benefits for your heart. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have long been known to protect the heart. They can lower triglycerides, improve blood pressure, prevent the blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes, and reduce heart arrhythmia, which is the leading case of sudden cardiac death.

Eating fish can protect your eyes. Starting now, you can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in later life.

Research on the 38,022 participants in the Women's Health Study linked regular consumption of fish over a 10-year period with being 42 percent less likely to develop AMD. Study subjects ate fish once a week, but twice a week is now recommended.

Fish that are rich in omega-3s include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and mackerel. A four-ounce serving of wild salmon contains about as much as the weekly omega-3 recommendation calls for.

Whether you eat these or other types, it's better to eat more fish than less fish. Broiled, baked and canned fish have fewer calories than pan fried or deep fried fish.


Inexpensive foot orthotics can often alleviate pain

An orthotic is a device that goes into your shoe to help support your foot. It can provide cushioning, help even out pressure or help control abnormal motion. According to the Mayo Clinic:

For Plantar fasciitis, a silicone heel cup can be effective. So can a semi-rigid orthotic that cups the heel and extends to the ball of the foot with a contour on the arch. It keeps the ligament at the bottom of the foot from being overstretched.

For a bunion or hammertoe, first have a properly fitting shoe with a toe box that has enough depth and width to give the bunion or hammertoe room.

Toe and bunion shields can limit irritation, but there must be enough room for them in the toe box.

For poor circulation related to diabetes, orthotic devices with layers of soft material that cushion and decrease friction are most important.

For metatarsal pain (mid-foot to the back of the foot), a soft pad that goes just between the metatarsal bones or behind a painful area between the bones, helps relieve pressure. The pad can be affixed to a shoe sock liner, or be part of a removable orthotic device.

For arthritis of the big toe, an orthotic with a rigid, finger-like projection under the big toe prevents painful movement. A rocker bottom shoe with a mostly flat sole and an upward curve at the toes can be helpful.

Nonprescription or custom-molded orthotics provide relief, but may not do the entire job. Usually they are part of a larger plan that may include physical therapy and weight loss.


For better health, practice laughing at yourself

People who are able to laugh at themselves may be healthier than their more serious peers, according to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Zurich in Switzerland. That ability was linked to good mood, good sense of humor and a more upbeat personality. Study subjects were judged by how much they laughed at photos of themselves.

It's the first such study ever done.

The study authors say the ability to laugh at oneself is a distinct trait, separate from general readiness to laugh, and linked to better overall health.


Too much calcium can cause kidney stones in some women

Women who are 51 years old and older are especially prone to loss of bone density and the occurrence of osteoporosis. They should take in 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily. This includes calcium from dietary sources, such as dairy products and leafy green vegetables, as well as supplements.

Those who take in 1,800 milligrams, mostly from supplements, are 17 percent more likely to develop kidney stones, according to a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (ajcn.org). To learn more about kidney stones, visit mayoclinic.com.


Number of melanoma cases skyrockets

According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, there is a dramatic rise in skin cancer rates among young adults. In recent years, melanoma cases in people age 18 to 39 rose eightfold among women and fourfold among men.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can spread cancer to other parts of the body, which can result in death.

To protect yourself, stay out of the sun at mid-day, wear a hat and sunscreen even on cloudy days. Avoid tanning beds.


If your teeth could talk...

They would tell you how to prevent loss of tooth enamel: limit acidic beverages such as sodas with cola or citrus flavors, diet sodas, sports drinks like Gatorade, energy drinks like Red Bull, citrus juices and wine. Prolonged exposure by sipping is the most erosive. It helps to drink water or rinse your mouth after these drinks.


Measles outbreaks could strike the United States

Before routine vaccinations, measles caused 3,000 to 5,000 deaths per year in the United States.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 50 cases per recent year, but last year, there were 214 cases and 68 required hospitalization.
  • The measles virus is generally spread by unvaccinated Americans who had visited Europe. For example, a boy who contracted the virus in Switzerland this year spread it to unvaccinated people at the Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis.
  • Many Americans will be traveling to London for the Olympics, which begins on July 27, and to the 2012 soccer cup beginning on June 8 in Poland and the Ukraine. Traveling children should have the recommended immunizations, and adults should get a booster shot.

    In Europe last year, there were 26,000 cases of measles. The Ukraine is fighting an outbreak right now.


    Decisions on aspirin use should be case-by-case

    Patients who are having a heart attack, or who have heart disease, benefit from aspirin because it interrupts the heart attack and can prevent future attacks. But doctors at Duke University say using aspirin to prevent heart attacks in healthy people provides minimal cardiac protection.

    Aspirin causes bleeding because it prevents the body's natural blood-clotting mechanism. Two studies now show the role of aspirin in people who have never had heart disease doesn't meet the requirement for being treated with it.

    Both studies show the danger of bleeding in low-risk people outweighs the benefits. It has long been known that women are at higher risk of bleeding compared to men when treated with a blood-thinning medication.

    If you are thinking of taking aspirin, discuss it with your doctor first.


    Among other benefits ...

    Core exercises can prevent back pain, fight incontinence and make breathing easier.

    Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities, including everything from swinging a golf club to getting a glass off the top shelf and to bending down to tie your shoes.

    One strong-looking man suffered a serious injury just lifting his suitcase from the overhead baggage bin. It's just one example of weak core muscles.

    Your core runs the length of your trunk and torso, including the abdominal muscles, the three muscles that run from your neck to your lower back, and the muscles along the vertebral column that extend and rotate the spine.

    Weak and unbalanced core muscles are linked to low back pain.

    The core also includes the external and internal obliques, the hip flexors, muscles at the sides of the hips, and the hamstring group located in the back of the hip and in the upper thigh.

    Strengthening them helps maintain good balance and posture. They include the breathing diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic muscles are key to lower back stability and continence. They can be strengthened by exercises, including contracting and releasing the muscles that stop the flow of urine.

    With all these important muscles included in the core, it's surprising that, aside from a few sit-ups and push-ups, core muscles are often neglected, even though they require no special equipment or a gym membership.

  • One easy core exercise is the bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your back in a neutral position, not arched or pressed to the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your hips off the floor until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold the position for as long as you can without breaking your form.

  • The plank (or hover) is a classic. With stomach toward the floor, hold your body in a rigid position balanced on your elbows and your toes.
  • Keep your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Your head should be relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time, work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.



    Check your medicine cabinet

    Be sure you have these items:

  • Antibacterial ointment for wounds.
  • Sterile saline solution for washing wounds and rinsing eyes.
  • Sterile gauze, bandages of different sizes, adhesive tape and scissors.
  • Tweezers to remove splinters.
  • Pain reliever, like aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol.
  • Oral antihistamine for itching and allergies.
  • Have hand sanitizer in stock.