IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date: October 1, 2008
Oysters are the real pearls of the sea
They are one of the great treasures of the sea. Many love oysters. Others
hate the sight of them. If you are one of the former, what better way to
take the chill off an autumn's eve than to enjoy a lunch or supper
accompanied by a warming hearty oyster stew.
Ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, sprang from
the ocean on an oyster shell. It was the Greeks who first linked oysters
to the power of love.
Some Romans actually bought oysters according to their weight in gold.
At one point, they launched ships full of slaves to harvest them from
the English Channel.
Oysters are nutritionally well-balanced, containing protein and
carbohydrates. They are recommended by the American Heart and Lung
Association for inclusion in a low-fat diet.
Oysters are also rich in vitamins, containing B1, B2, B3, and vitamins C
and D. Four to five oysters contain the body's daily needs for iron,
copper and magnesium.
Oyster Stew Recipe
1 pint fresh oysters or one 8-ounce can
1 four-ounce can of condensed milk
3 cups milk
4 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon pepper
2 dashes of nutmeg
Place all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler or in a
one-quart pan. Heat slowly over a medium heat, stirring constantly.
Don't let it boil.
Ladle the hot stew into four bowls. Add oyster or regular crackers if
you like. It's great as a light fare with your favorite sandwich or
New procedure for Barrette's esophagus
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona think a new procedure for
Barrette's esophagus will help to prevent surgery. Barrette's is caused
when stomach acid reflux burns the esophagus.
Standard treatment for the condition, which affects about 3 million
people in the U.S., is acid blocking drugs, or in extreme cases, removal
of part of the esophagus. About 5 percent of patients with advanced
cases develop cancer.
In the new treatment, the doctor threads a thin scope down the throat
and inflates a balloon next to abnormal cells in the esophagus.
Electromagnetic coils on the surface of the balloon the burn away the
Reducing biological age
An analysis of studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows
that a program of aerobic fitness may delay biological aging by 10 to 12
While this is important for people of all ages, it is particularly
important for those in their later years. With age, the deterioration of
aerobic fitness continues at a steady and predictable rate unless action
is taken to reverse the decline, say doctors at the University of
For retired people, aerobic activity can enhance the ability to perform
daily functions and stave off chronic disease.
Babies diagnosed with GERD
More babies who often cry hard after eating are being diagnosed with
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The number of prescriptions
written for GERD has soared in the last decade. Some experts say it's
being overdiagnosed. Others say it isn't being taken seriously enough.
Most babies happily spit up some liquid because the valve to the stomach
from the esophagus isn't fully closed.
Colic is still a problem for some babies up to three months old, but
GERD is a separate issue.
That powerful component of life: Sleep!
"Live long and prosper." That was the Vulcan's
farewell words on Star Trek. But you don't need pointy ears to take
advantage of that advice.
What you do need is sleep.
If you don't get enough, you will tend to have higher blood pressure.
High BP can lead to heart problems and your overall health could
decline. Doctors at the University of Chicago even found that the flu
shot worked better for people who get enough sleep.
Want to look good? Encourage your growth hormone by getting enough sleep. That's the number one way to do it. Growth hormone brings better-looking skin and more muscle mass.
Reduce stress to increase good feelings. Half of adults surveyed by the National Sleep Foundation said they have insomnia a few nights a week. Do what you can to solve this problem. It can make you feel stressed, depressed, forgetful and less able to concentrate.
Have a healthier weight. Michael Beus, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, says sleep loss leads to a lower level of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, and increases ghrelin, the hormone that make you feel hungry.
Not everyone needs a full eight hours
of sleep, but some people need a little more. A Washington State
University study suggests the need may be determined by genetics.
Get what you need to feel bright and properly rested each day.
Swollen feet should be checked out
Edema could be a minor problem or could foretell a more serious condition
If you can hardly get your swollen feet back into your shoes after a
long airplane flight, but can put them on easily within 24 hours, you're
Edema, a medical term for swelling, can
occur in any part of the body or in the entire body, but it's usually
noticed in the legs and feet.
Sitting still or
standing for a long period of time can cause temporary swelling. Or
swelling could be caused by eating a very salty dinner. But if your feet
and ankles are still swollen days later, it's time to see your doctor.
A blood clot. This is suspected if swelling occurs only in one leg.
Heart failure. Many things can cause the right side of the heart to weaken, losing its ability to effectively pump blood, which leads to swelling, say doctors at the Mayo Clinic.
Liver damage (cirrhosis). The flow of blood through the liver can get backed up. Swelling caused by liver damage first occurs in the abdomen.
Kidney problems. Damaged kidneys may not properly remove water and sodium from your blood. The result could be swelling throughout the body.
Less-common causes of swelling include other
heart problems, thyroid conditions, hormone imbalance, and malnutrition.
Swelling itself can be treated by limiting salt, taking diuretic drugs
(water pills), and exercising. Elevating the affected limb above the
level of the heart for about 30 minutes or longer up to three times a
day can help.
Whatever the cause, get it checked.
Long-standing edema can cause other problems.
Testosterone helps prevent osteoporosis in men
Men with very low testosterone levels are at an increased risk for
thinning bones. They may be able to improve their bone density with
Testosterone appears to be an important factor in the development and
maintenance of bone strength in men, say researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Light exercise beats fatigue
New studies show that light exercise, as little as 10 minutes a day,
can do more to boost energy levels than resting on the sofa.
Researchers at the University of Georgia found that regular,
low-intensity workouts, such as a leisurely stroll increased
participants energy levels by 20 percent.
Reported by Tufts University, the light workouts fought fatigue even
more, with 65 percent of participants reporting decreased fatigue.
Study subjects were sedentary but otherwise healthy people who reported
persistent feelings of fatigue. The researchers say about 25 percent of
the population suffers such fatigue.
Encouraging brain growth over a lifetime
Have you noticed the brain games that target
retirees? They may have a positive effect, but people of all ages can do
more to perk up their gray matter.
In the last decade, scientists have discovered that
people generate new brain cells and new connections between them
throughout life. Building these mental reserves can serve you well both
now and much later in life.
P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of biological psychiatry
at Duke University Medical Center, says it's like having more cell
towers to send messages along. The more towers you have, the fewer calls
Doraiswamy is co-author of a new book, The
Alzheimer's Action Plan, which gives advice on keeping brains in good
health and improving how they work.
The late neurologist Lawrence Katz came up with the
term "neurobics" for activities that challenge the brain. They can be as
simple as brushing your teeth or dialing the phone with your
non-dominant hand to strengthen pathways in the opposite site of the
Learning to play a musical instrument or speak a
foreign language stimulates the brain, as do games like chess, bridge,
and board games like Stratego or Napoleon's Triumph that require
thinking and socializing at the same time. The brain likes novelty.
Exercise is known to be beneficial in boosting brain
health. It improves blood flow to the brain, which encourages neural
growth and connectivity for people of all ages.
Getting enough sleep is vital. REM sleep is when we
consolidate memory in the brain, says Marianne J. Legato of Columbia
University. Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, she says untreated sleep
apnea can be harmful.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for
preventing Alzheimer's disease. But these strategies are good for your
overall health, are good for your brain right now, and may increase your
defenses against cognitive decline in later life.
October is National Liver awareness month
Guard your liver: It's big, but not very tough. It's
the largest organ you have. The liver is about the size of a football,
but not nearly as tough. There's another big difference: You can live
without a football, but you'll die without a liver.
Weighing three or more pounds and located behind your
lower ribs on the right side, it's the body's refinery, says the
American Liver Foundation. It filters out and disposes of harmful
substances, and it converts vitamins, minerals and sugars into things the body can use. The liver quietly goes about its many jobs with little attention from you. All it needs is your protection. Here are some ways to guard your liver.
Don't overwork it. Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity can increase your risk of fatty liver disease.
Be careful with chemicals, including pesticides, aerosol cleaners and paint sprays. Avoid inhaling chemicals or letting them come into contact with your skin. Skin absorbs chemicals.
Prevent the liver diseases hepatitis A, B and C.They can be spread through contaminated tattoo and other needles and shared razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers.
Practice safe sex. Unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners increases the risk for hepatitis B and C.
Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if you are at risk.
Stay away from street drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which seriously damage the liver.
Use alcohol responsibly. Too much too often can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, often a fatal condition.
Fight bacteria in the kitchen
New and old advice from the University of California, Davis:
Don't rinse chicken in the kitchen sink, recommends the USDA. A chicken may have salmonella or other harmful bacteria on it. The bacteria could remain in the sink or splash onto other food or the counter and utensils.
Use a paper towel to wipe up food and juice spills, then throw the paper towel away. This avoids contact with a bacteria-infected sponge or dishcloth. The bacteria will feed on the food or drink, making the sponge dangerous.
Cold water is OK for washing hands. There is no evidence that hot water works better.
Microwave your kitchen sponge for one minute on high to sterilize it.
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