IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  October 1, 2011

Balsamic-glazed salmon steaks

Whether it's smoked, grilled, or poached, salmon is a must on top restaurant menus and in our homes.

Salmon was originally abundant on both the east and west coasts of America. The waters of the Northwest are abundant with salmon, where it is known as "Alaskan turkey."

Worldwide, commercial salmon production exceeds one billion pounds annually, with about 70 percent coming from aquaculture salmon farms.

This recipe combines the natural sweetness of honey with the tart taste of balsamic vinegar. It can be accompanied by a steamed vegetable, or cups of fresh fruit for easy and healthy dinner fare. It can also be complemented by a glass of lemonade.

Balsamic-glazed salmon steaks

6 5-ounce salmon fillets
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 sprigs mint
salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Coat a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium heat, combine the garlic, white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Arrange salmon fillets on the foil-lined baking sheet. Brush fillets with balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with the parsley.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Brush fillets with remaining glaze, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a spatula to transfer fillets to serving platter, leaving the skin behind on the foil. Garnish each with a sprig of mint.

Each serving contains 288 calories, 15.5g of fat, and 84 mg of cholesterol.

Who should get a flu shot in 2011? Everyone

In case you wondered, these are the three viruses the 2011 seasonal flu shot protects against:

The A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)–like virus; an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)–like virus; and a B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus. The H1N1 is the same vaccine used in previous years.

Who should get vaccinated?

Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccination each year. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has voted for the “universal" flu vaccination in the United States. Universal vaccination will expand protection against the flu to more people.

While everyone should get flu vaccine for each season, it's especially important that certain people get vaccinated, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk.

High-risk people include pregnant women, people age 50 and over, those with chronic medical conditions, and health care workers.

Those who live or work with people at high risk for complications from the flu should be sure to get a flu shot, as should caregivers of children less than six months old, who are too young to be vaccinated.

Chuckles Corner

Decorate your plate and nourish your body

If you regularly eat colorful fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you've taken a big step toward good health.

Here are a few recommendations by the Mayo Clinic.

Meat: It's nutritious, but plant proteins, such as beans, split peas and lentils, also have protein and cost less. It's best to keep meat consumption to about 6 ounces a day. Choose low-fat cuts like round steak and skinless chicken.

Substituting two servings of fish a week is recommended, but bake or broil it instead of frying.

Fiber: Foods like whole grain cereal and bread, fruits and vegetables require more chewing time, making it less likely you'll overeat. And you'll feel full.

Fiber also aids bowel function, lowers cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar levels.

Potassium: Increasing your intake may reduce your risk of high blood pressure and kidney stones. It's found in white potatoes, bananas, dried beans, fish and low-fat dairy products.

Good fats: Unsaturated fats provide energy and help your body absorb vitamins. They are found in natural oils, such as olive, safflower, canola and flaxseed. Avocados, walnuts and almonds are great sources.

Fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, supply omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s reduce your risk of abnormal heartbeat decrease triglyceride levels, and slow growth of artery-clogging plaques.

Breast cancer treatment advances

Here's the good news for tens of thousands of breast cancer patients: Many can safely skip lymph node removal.

Lymph nodes are small glands that filter a clear fluid that removes liquids and organisms, such as bacteria.

When breast cancer spreads, the first place affected is usually the lymph nodes. Surgeons used to routinely remove all of these nodes in an effort to halt the spread of breast cancer.

New research reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that, for many women with one or two positive node biopsies, additional lymph node removal made no difference in life expectancy.

It's an important finding, because extensive removal of lymph nodes can lead to serious complications, such as numbness or chronic arm swelling.

The findings do not apply to patients having a mastectomy, a lumpectomy with partial breast irradiation or no radiation, or those with large tumors.

Don't Take Muscle Loss for Granted

Beginning as early as age 30, your muscle mass begins to decline.

As years go by, you may begin to look soft or flabby. These changes can start as early as your 30s, but most people see the more differences in their 40s and 50s. Unless you do something about it, you will lose about 1 percent of your lean muscle mass per year after age 40

It doesn't have to happen. Only 30 percent of muscle loss is due to aging. The other 70 percent is up to you to maintain. Even if loss has begun, this percentage can be regained through strength training.

If you want to start a program, get your doctor's OK first. Consider scheduling time with a certified trainer or physical therapist who can help you design a routine, especially if you are a beginner or have health issues.

At the start, take it slow. The goal is to gradually and consistently improve over time. Always begin with five to 10 minutes of gentle exercise to warm up your muscles.

You can do strength training at home or in the gym. Consider using:

  • Your body weight to do exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, leg squats, or side and back strengthening exercises.
  • Resistance tubing, which can be found at sporting goods stores and department stores.
  • Free weights, such as barbells or dumbbells. Start with light weights.
  • Weight machines.

    Mayo Clinic studies show these to be some of the benefits:

    Stronger bones. Strength training increases bone density and reduces your risk of osteoporosis.

    Weight control and fat reduction. Muscle burns calories, making it easier to reduce body fat and control your weight.

    Fewer injuries. You will have better balance, coordination and agility. Your joints will be more stable and will be able to give muscles a greater role in absorbing stresses on joints.

    Less back pain. Strengthening the lower back muscles is a proven way to ease back pain.

    Better brain activity. Studies show that strength training and exercise improve cognitive function.

  • Anti-vaccination movement endangers people, docs say

    A new movement against vaccinations has been aided by both misinformation and even the success of vaccinations, so say immunology experts.

    The main problem is that parents, most of whom have never seen a case of measles or mumps, are not afraid of the diseases. Measles is not merely a benign childhood disease. It can and does kill its victims. It infects the people who come in contact with the victims: babies and people with suppressed immune systems.
    In fact, before widespread vaccinations measles killed 3,000 to 5,000 people each year.

    Now doctors who have never seen a case of measles are being confronted by the virus. In the first six months of 2011, there were 152 children sick with measles. Many were hospitalized. Compare that to 2008, when there were 140 cases in the entire year.

    A common myth is that vaccines cause autism has been completely disproved, according to the Centers for Disease Control's Gregory Wallace.

    Asthma pills shown effective

    In studies reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, drugs known as leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs) were hailed as easier to use and as effective as steroid inhalers.

    Due to side effects and the inability to take the inhaler correctly, LTRAs were found to improve adherence to an asthma treatment regimen by as much as 74 percent over inhaler use.

    LTRAs are sold under brand names such as Singulair and Accolate.

    Don't fry the fish!

    Researchers have found that people living in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana (known as the "stroke belt") consume a larger amount of fried fish than people in other areas of the country. They also have a higher stroke risk, according to the journal Neurology.

    Fish is generally known as a healthy food, but frying it destroys the healthy omega-3 acids in fish and adds to calorie and fat content.

    Take BP drugs at night

    Duke University Medical Center reports that people with high blood pressure may benefit more by taking their medications at bedtime.

    Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) tracks a person's blood pressure 24 hours a day. It shows 62 percent of those taking at least one medication at night were able to control their blood pressure over a 24-hour period, compared with 53 percent of those who took them in the morning.

    B vitamins and depression

    Older adults who have low intakes of vitamins B6 and B12 are more likely to suffer from depression, according to UCLA Division of Geriatrics. Higher intakes from foods and supplements resulted in a decreased likelihood of depression.

    The percentage by which women's "bad" cholesterol dropped after a year of eating two apples per day, according to the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting and WebMD.

    Healthier meat choices

    Lean protein is an important part of your diet for two reasons. First, it has a high nutritional value, and second, it makes you feel satisfied longer.

    Fish, chicken and turkey are good options. When it comes to beef, the cut is a good indication of fat content.

    Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College recommend: Eat sirloin steak instead of ribeye. Order filet mignon instead of prime rib. Eat T-bone steak instead of Porterhouse. Order London broil flank steak instead of ribs.

    At home, trim the fat from the meat and broil, bake or grill.

    Binge drinking

    Data released recently by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that nearly a quarter of all Americans have participated in binge drinking, and 8.8 percent of Americans age 12 and older reported binge drinking in the past month.

    North Dakota ranked highest with 29.8 percent saying they have participated in binge drinking (five drinks or more on one occasion). Utah ranked lowest at 14.1 percent.

    Exercise fights winter colds

    People who exercise frequently, as well as those who rate themselves as physically fit, are less susceptible to upper-respiratory infections. A study by Appalachian State University suggests those who work out five days a week suffered 43 percent fewer days with respiratory infections than those who exercise just one day a week.

    Even when fit people got sick, their symptoms were less severe than those of non exercisers.

    Your best defense against a cold or flu might be found in the gym.