IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date: September 1, 2005
Apricot Energy Booster
If you were to check with NASA, they would tell you that apricots have been
on the menu for astronauts in flight on many occasions including Apollo
15's trip to the moon. They are included in puddings and snack bars as
quick sources of energy.
In ages past, Chinese brides ate apricots to increase
fertility. They didn't know why it did, but we now know that apricots
are high in a mineral needed for the production of sex hormones.
Many of apricots' health benefits come from their
high levels of carotenoids including alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene.
The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which has many healing
qualities. It's a powerful antioxidant that protects the eyes from
macular degeneration and greatly reduces the risk of getting cataracts.
Apricots protect your heart. Whether you eat this
velvety fruit by hand or include it in recipes, you'll get plenty of
lycopene, an important heart protector that fights formation of
cholesterol, the bad kind. Researchers at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture say lycopene is one of the strongest antioxidants.
Tasty apricots are high in fiber. That means eating
them can help you lose weight, control high blood sugar, and lower
cholesterol levels. Fiber is essential for keeping digestion regular.
To get the most from apricots, buy them when they are
still slightly firm. Once they are soft, healthful compounds begin to
break down. Avoid those with green spots, because apricots don't ripen
after they leave the tree. Pick yellow or orange fruits.
Apricot Breakfast Treat.
Spread 3/4 C of low-fat granola without raisins into
a glass serving bowl. Top with 1 C nonfat plain or lightly sweetened
Pit and thinly slice eight apricots and spread over
the yogurt. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Then top by sprinkling with
1/4 C of granola.
Doctor's Book of Food Remedies (Rodale)
Here's How To Do It
Keep your heart healthy now to prevent Alzheimer's disease in later
Maybe it was inevitable that scientists would
find that almost every late-life condition is linked to how we live our
lives for decades before. But they are surprised at how the link between
heart health and Alzheimer's disease has emerged.
Neuropsychiatrists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say it
appears that reducing your risk of heart attack or stroke also helps to
keep oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood pumping into your brain.
cells can then stay healthy and keep areas of the brain from withering.
Withering causes symptoms of Alzheimer's disease such as memory loss,
disorientation, and erratic behavior.
Some experts say
the buildup of plaques in the arteries of cardiovascular patients is
similar to the buildup of plaque in the brains of people with
The new discoveries provide hope that the strategies
used to prevent heart attack and stroke can also prevent Alzheimers.
Control blood pressure. Keep it at
120/80 or less, whether by diet, exercise, or taking drugs.
A Swedish study shows that lowering blood pressure with medication
significantly reduces the risk of Alzheimer's.
Prevent or control type 2 diabetes. Diabetes damages
blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the brain. Maintaining a
healthy weight is important.
Fight bad cholesterol.
Studies show elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL) may contribute to
beta-amyloid plaques that are typical of Alzheimer's.
Increase good cholesterol with diet and aerobic
exercise. People with the highest levels of HDL are far less likely to
Eat well. Get plenty of antioxidants,
B vitamins, and folic acid. Eat fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
Buy whole grain bread, rice, and pasta. Get healthy fats from nuts,
seeds, fish, and olive oil.
Exercise and Loving It
You know you want to get more exercise, but how do
you find the time and the desire?
Making it something
you can look forward to and enjoy doing is the key. Here are a few ways
to do it.
Join up. Go with the fun crowd to play tennis, soccer, basketball, even bowling. When you will be with people you enjoy, you'll make time for the activity even if you're not good at it. You'll get better.
Get outside. Hiking in beautiful surroundings, swimming, biking, or skiing in winter will make you physically and mentally healthier. And you'll burn more calories. Studies at Utah State University show that people hiking outdoors burn more calories than people using a treadmill.
Walk to the music. Going with the beat is great whether you walk outside or on a treadmill. At East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., doctors found that men listening to the tunes of their choice upped their speeds and burned more calories but didn't even realize they were working harder.
Get an instructor. Find one at your health club who cares about you, your program, and your measurements. Don't focus on body shape, focus on training and health instead.
Prevent Life-Threatening Infections
Vaccines are a key to a healthy life for people of
all ages and cultures. They have been used since the 1700s and are
recognized as among the safest and best ways to prevent a variety of
Before school starts, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children receive vaccines
against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, rubella,
chicken pox, and polio.
Adolescents should be
vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and meningococcal disease,
as well as any immunizations they have missed earlier. Because of the
recent rise in pertussis cases, those who have not been vaccinated
against it for five to 10 years should get a booster shot.
Those recommended for adults include vaccines against
influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, and diphtheria.
C, E Reduce Alzheimer's Risk
The Alzheimer's Association of Chicago reports that
taking vitamins C and E may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. It
is thought that these antioxidants absorb damaging free radicals in the
brain and prevent cell damage.
A study by Johns
Hopkins shows that people taking both C and E were 64 percent less
likely to have developed the disease four years later.
Recommended doses are 500 to 1,500 mg of vitamin C
and 400 to 1,000 IU of vitamin E daily. Ask your doctor which dose is
best for you.
More than one in nine Americans have chronic kidney disease, and many more
are at risk. The number of people with end-stage kidney disease doubled
during the last decade, mainly because high blood pressure and diabetes
are often inadequately treated.
Most people with kidney disease are unaware of it
because it's possible to function well at half of normal capacity. Over
time, however, hypertension and diabetes accelerate the decline.
Treatment requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. Complications
include heart disease, weak bones, and anemia.
Everyone should be screened for hypertension and
diabetes. Guidelines by the National Kidney Foundation say people with
these conditions, a family history of kidney disease, and elderly
African-Americans, Hispanics, or Asians, require two more tests:
A urine test for albumin which is caused by impaired kidney function.
A blood test for creatinine to estimate how efficiently the kidneys are functioning.
Everyone, especially those at risk, can protect their
kidneys by losing excess weight, exercising, not smoking, avoiding
excessive amounts of over-the-counter pain killers (which are processed
by the kidneys), limiting alcohol intake, and eating less salt and
Kidney damage can't be reversed, but its progression
can be delayed or stopped with these measures.
Finding an Organ Donor
MatchingDonors.com is a nonprofit Web site which
helps patients who desperately need a new liver or kidney to find living
Patients can join MatchingDonors for fees starting at $295. Some
2,000 donors now offer organs to strangers for nothing more than
goodwill. It is illegal to sell organs.
startup in October, seven members have received transplants. Some
question the ethics of such a search, but with 88,000 people in the
federally sponsored United Network for Organ Sharing (17 die each day),
ethics are not these patients' main concerns.
Fast Pulse and Sudden Death
If your resting pulse rate is more than 75 beats a
minute and you are a man in your 40s or 50s, you could be at risk for a
sudden, fatal heart attack.
Research reported in the New England Journal of
Medicine shows that an elevated resting heart rate was one of three
simple tests that may predict a future risk of sudden cardiac death.
The study showed that those with a resting heart rate
of 75 or more were four times as likely to die of a sudden cardiac cause
(in the next two decades) than were those whose resting heart rate was
less than 75 beats per minute.
Caffeine and cold medications raise the heart rate
and do not allow a true indication of the resting count.
A count below 75 doesn't necessarily indicate heart
health. But the count is an easy, cost-free test anyone can take.
Few Have a Healthy Lifestyle
Everyone knows what a healthy lifestyle is but few people have one. A new study
shows that only 3 percent of Americans don't smoke, eat five servings of
fruits and vegetables daily, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy
The Michigan State University study shows that 72
percent don't smoke, 40.1 percent maintain a healthy weight, 23.3
percent said they eat five servings of fruits and vegetables, and 22.3
percent said they exercised five times a week.
Whooping Cough Case Increase
Last year, cases of pertussis, often called whooping
cough, reached a 40-year high in the U.S. with about 20,000 cases
nationwide. About 75 percent were in people younger than age 20.
Though it is rarely fatal, the disease can linger for weeks or months
with coughing so intense it can bring on vomiting fits. Patients are
treated with antibiotics.
Adolescents most often
contract the highly contagious bacterial infection say doctors at Riley
Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. Young children are
generally protected through immunization, but the vaccine loses its
potency after five to 10 years.
The disease can spread
rapidly because in its early, most infectious stage, its symptoms are
similar to those of the common cold. As a result, people spread
pertussis without realizing they are contagious.
would be wise to have adolescents immunized against pertussis. Adults
should also consider immunization if they have respiratory problems,
adolescents in the family, or weakened immunity.
Promising New Cancer Drugs
Doctors think a new generation of cancer drugs will cure or manage several
different kinds of cancer. They work by blocking cancer's multiple
pathways, cutting off the blood supply to a tumor.
At the same time,
they jam the "switchboard" a tumor uses to send messages to grow and
The new drugs go beyond medicines which have impressed
scientists for their ability to target cancer cells while leaving
healthy cells alone.
Pfizer's new drug that for now is
called AG-013736 shrank tumors in 40 percent of advanced kidney disease
cases. Current treatments do that in only one of 10 cases. It also works
on lung cancer.
Farthest along of such drugs is
Sorafenib, made by Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. The
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows it for limited use on kidney
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