IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  September 1, 2012

Famed Waldorf salad recalls the pioneer apple lover

He was the original environmentalist, a lover of plants and animals, a man who once extinguished a campfire to avoid harming a mosquito.

John Chapman, known in legend as Johnny Appleseed, was born in 1774 in Leominster, MA., and died in 1845 in Fort Wayne, IN.

In his 20s, John began his travels throughout the Midwest, preaching the gospel to settlers, befriending Native Americans, and, famously, planting apple nurseries. He sold settlers trees and planted orchards that made frontier property especially valuable.

His sour apple trees were prized for making cider, but Johnny Appleseed didn't believe in the grafting required to make sweet varieties.

Johnny Appleseed might not approve, but here is a famous apple salad, The Waldorf, that features a colorful selection of sweet apples.

For a festive autumn side dish, for dinner at home or picnic, the quick simple recipe below offers a tasty and nutritious salad that adds color to any menu.

Simple Waldorf Salad

Two cups apples, red, or mixed colors
One cup celery
3/4 cup walnut pieces
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 to 1 1/2 cups of poppyseed dressing.

If you don't have poppyseed, make the dressing from 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons milk and (optional) 2 teaspoon lemon juice.

Cut apples into half-inch cubes and set aside. Cut celery into small pieces. Cut any large nut pieces.

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients thoroughly. Pour the dressing over the mixture and stir until all ingredients are moist but not dripping. Makes four to six servings.

Waist-to-height ratio: New screening tool

The size of your waist can tell doctors a lot, says a researcher, even whether you are at risk for heart disease.

A British Nutrition Foundation scientist recently presented the finding at the 19th Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France.

Study leader Dr. Margaret Ashwell, former science director of the foundation, says an acceptable height-to-waist ratio can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world.

Her findings show that waist size should be less than half of height. A woman who is 64 inches tall should have a waist circumference of 32 inches or less.

The finding was derived from an analysis of 300,000 people. It showed that weight to height ratio was better able to predict high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes than body mass index (BMI)

Cardiometabolic risk factors include LDL cholesterol, high C-reactive protein, smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, stress, depression and high blood sugar, in addition to race, age and family history.


Chuckles Corner

Breakfast gets your metabolism going

There is a lot you can do to increase the number of calories you burn during the day.

Leaving for work on an empty stomach puts your metabolism on hold by sending it the message to save energy in case another meal doesn't arrive.

Breakfast signals the metabolism to burn calories and produce energy, which is what you need in the a.m.


Dentists offer nine ways to improve your smile

If you're considering a dental makeover, Johns Hopkins Medicine gives this rundown of products and options. Costs will vary depending on the amount of work to be done and your location.

1. Tooth Whitening. Professional bleaching costs about $600 and takes from 45 minutes to two hours. Laser whitening costs about $1,000.

2. Veneers. The custom-made plastic or porcelain moldings cover teeth and last up to 15 years. They cost $700 to $2,500 per tooth. Synthetic veneers cost about $250 but last only five to seven years.

3. Bonding. The least expensive way to fill cracks or chips, the material is matched to the shade of teeth then applied, smoothed and hardened. It costs $300 to $600 per tooth.

4. Crowns. Made of porcelain, they are attached after a root canal to protect what's left of the original tooth. The cost is $600 to $3,100 each, depending on the amount of work to be done.

5. Dental implants. One of the most expensive option, a surgeon implants a metal post into the jaw where the tooth will be placed and cements a crown to the post. A basic implant costs $1,250 to $3,000, but additional work may be required, which can escalate costs to $15,000 or more.

6. Gum surgery. To remove tissue scarred by periodontal disease, the surgeon reshapes the gums using tissue taken from the palate.

7. Braces. Invisible ceramic braces cost $3,000 to $7,000. If you have veneers, you'll need old fashioned braces because ceramic won't attach to them.

8. Permanent bridges. They include one or more false teeth implanted between two porcelain crowns. It costs $500 to $900 per tooth.

9. Dentures. Removable dentures are typically made of acrylic resin, metal or porcelain. They can be partial or complete, depending on how many teeth you're missing. The removables cost $500 and up. A full set costs $2,500 or more.


New legislation will speed availability of generic drugs

Experts say new legislation will hasten the availability of generic drugs and of so-called breakthrough drugs that break new medical ground.

Congress will add both categories to a measure to reauthorize a fee program. Drug and medical device makers pay fees to the Food and Drug Administration. The fees enable the FDA to employ more people to speed reviews of medical products.

Congress may pass the bill by October 1, predicts the Kiplinger Letter.


Light weights are effective for strength training

The idea of pumping iron could leave you so intimidated that you don't try strength training at all.

The good news is that using light weights is as effective as heavier weights for strength training. All you have to do is pick a hand weight you are comfortable with and lift it to the point of fatigue.

Men might use an 8-pound hand weight or lighter. Women could use a 5-pound or a 3-pound weight.

Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, reported the new finding in the Journal of Applied Physiology. They say it's especially important for people with joint problems and for older people. Light weights can bring muscle growth if lifted to the point where it's difficult to maintain good form.

The benefits of strength training include increased muscle mass, tendon and ligament toughness, better bone density, flexibility, metabolism and posture.

Strength training boosts your energy levels and improves your mood. It elevates your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great.


A prescription for depression: take a walk in the park

Whether you are feeling depressed or actually have clinical depression, nature walks or a walk in the park can help.

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that walking in a wooded area boosted performance on memory and attention tests by an average of 20 percent. The cognitive improvements were much better when compared to results from those who took walks in busy, city environments.

The reason for the improvement was not entirely clear, though it suggests that a walk in a peaceful setting allows the brain to restore and refresh its capabilities by eliminating external distractions that can tax memory and attention.


Keeping stroke patients alive

Stroke has dropped from the third most common cause of death in the United States to fourth place.

Scientists say controlling risk factors like high blood pressure and smoking was a factor, and giving statins to stroke patients improved outcomes.

There has also been an increase in designated stroke centers and emergency rooms that are specially equipped for stroke patients, says the American Heart Association.


Pharmacists play an increasing role in health and nudge people to take their pills

One problem with prescriptions: many bottles just tell the name of the medication and how many pills to take. Busy primary care doctors may not have explained how to take them, or in the stress of the visit, the patient might have forgotten the instructions.

Here are two examples:

A woman who was prescribed a once-a-week bone-building pill took it whenever it was convenient. Her pharmacist explained that it should be taken in the morning and she shouldn't eat anything or lie down for an hour afterward.

A man taking a medication for reflux disease thought he would need surgery because his medication wasn't doing enough. After a pharmacist explained when and how to take it, the man felt much better.

Walgreens is gradually remodeling their stores to put pharmacists at open desks so customers can easily discuss their prescriptions with them. The company says many patients are talking to their pharmacists more often than to their primary-care physicians.

Recent studies show only 25 percent to 30 percent of medications for heart disease and diabetes are taken properly. Many aren't refilled as prescribed.

Pharmacy groups are now seeing how the enhanced role of the pharmacist is making it easier for patients to reorder their medications and to take them correctly. This reduces hospitalizations and emergency-room visits that occur when patients skip their meds.

CVS Caremark introduced the Pharmacy Advisor program last year to help diabetes and heart-disease patients. About 16 million patients are involved. After one year, there was a 17.2 percent decline in members not taking their medications as prescribed. The program will expand next year to include patients with cancer, depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

While CVS and Walgreens benefit when more prescriptions are filled, both say their main goal is to improve medication adherence and to help reduce health costs in general.

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When it comes to salad dressing, low-fat isn't best

New research published in Molecular Nutrition & Food found that higher-fat salad dressings poured over a fresh green salad released more vitamins and nutrients into the digestive system than low-fat dressings.

Scientists prepared salad dressings based on canola oil, soybean oil and butter at three different levels. They contained 3 grams, 8 grams or 20 grams of fat per serving.

When all three fats were compared, study subjects absorbed significantly more carotenoids from eating salads with dressing containing 20 grams of fat.

Carotenoids are pigments found in fruits and vegetables. They are associated with reduced risk of macular degeneration, cancer, and other diseases.