The cold weather season is here. Many of us are looking forward to ending the work day at home under a cozy blanket with a warm meal. Comfort foods take us back to some of our best memories; unfortunately, these can be foods that are high in fat and calories. However, some comforting foods can be good for you, easy to prepare and fit any nutrition plan. Here are a few tips: • Spaghetti is a great comfort food and has less calories that the typical pasta dishes such as lasagna and creamy pastas. Opt for whole-wheat pasta or get adventurous and try some spaghetti squash. Also, look for chunky sauces without added sugars. Use fresh herbs and vegetables such as basil and onions for added flavor. • Vegetable soups and stews make great hearty meals. Use a slow cooker to prepare lean cuts of meat along with large pieces of vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. Add your favorite seasonings and let it cook all day. Typically cream soups are much higher in fat and calories, so stick to those that are broth based. • Cut the crust. Many of our favorite comfort foods such as chicken pot pie and peach cobbler have a top and bottom crust. Simply doing away with the bottom crust could save you a good bit of calories and fat. • Use lean meats for soups, stews and especially foods that have gravy such as meatloaf or beef tips. Use herbs and spices for flavor. Look for ways to cut fat and calories in your favorite comfort food by searching for healthier alternatives on the Internet on recipe sharing sites and other places, such as Pinterest.
Weight training with diabetes can lead to better blood sugar control and a reduced risk of complications, among other health benefits. Here's how to incorporate this type of exercise into your routine. By Dennis Thompson, Jr. Medically Reviewed by Bhargavi Patham, MD Research has established the benefits of regular aerobic exercise: Running, swimming, and biking all can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and — yes — diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health. But now scientists believe that people with diabetes can benefit from a regular weight, or strength, training routine as well. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends that all people, even those without chronic illness, strength train at least twice a week. Not only can lifting weights help improve type 2 diabetes symptoms, but when part of a workout plan that includes aerobics, it can put you on the path to long-term good health. Reaping the Benefits of Weight Training Diabetes is marked by the body's inability to process glucose and use insulin efficiently, but strength training can help with those issues. Here's how: You can experience an increase in lean muscle mass, which boosts your base metabolic rate and causes you to burn calories at a faster rate. "Burning these calories helps keep your blood glucose levels in check," notes Sherin Joseph, MPH, health education manager at Montefiore Health System's Williamsbridge Family Practice Center in the Bronx, New York. The ability of your muscles to store glucose increases with your strength, making your body better able to regulate its blood sugar levels. Your body's fat-to-muscle ratio decreases, reducing the amount of insulin you need in your body to help store energy in fat cells. Rx Treatment for LDL-C www.ldl-cholesterol-treatment.com Learn About a PCSK9 Inhibitor That May Help Your Patients Reduce LDL-C Even better results have been observed when people with type 2 diabetes combine a weight-training routine with regular aerobic exercise, adds Joseph. The two forms of exercise work together to create better health benefits than either does on its own. Protecting Against Complications Strength training also can help guard against some complications of diabetes by: Reducing your risk of heart disease Helping control blood pressure Increasing your levels of good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol levels Improving bone density Preventing atrophy and age-related loss of muscle mass Starting a Weight-Training Routine A weight-training routine involves performing movements that work specific muscle groups in the body. Each workout is broken down into exercises, reps, and sets in the following ways: The exercise is the specific movement that works a muscle group. For example, a bicep curl or a chest press. A rep, or repetition, is one completed motion. For example, one rep of a bicep curl involves lowering the dumbbell and raising it to the starting position. A set is the number of reps performed together, and sets are separated by a short rest period. The American Diabetes Association suggests the following guidelines for a weight-training routine: Strength training should be practiced two or three days every week, with at least one day off between sessions, to allow muscles to rest and rebuild. Strength training can include hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines, reminds Joseph. Perform at least 8 to 10 weight exercises per session, to work all the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body. Exercises can be of low or moderate intensity. Low intensity involves two or three sets of 15 reps with lighter weights, and moderate intensity involves two or three sets of 8 to 12 reps with heavier weights. There should be two to three minutes of rest between sets. The workout should last 20 to 60 minutes per weight-training session. Practicing Common Sense To help ensure good results and prevent injuries, follow these common sense rules: Get your doctor's clearance. As with any exercise program, you should check with your doctor before starting a weight-training regimen. Focus on your form. Try to maintain proper posture, and perform each exercise exactly as required, even if it means you need to use less weight. Breathe. Exhale while lifting the weight and inhale while lowering it. Allow for variety. Every now and then, change the exercises in your workout, or alter the number of sets or reps you are doing. Your body adapts to exercise, and your progress can plateau if you don't keep your body guessing. Ask for help. If you need some guidance, consider working with a trainer or joining a weight-training class at your local gym or YMCA. Always give yourself time to recuperate. Don't work out using a muscle or joint that feels painful. In other words, don’t overdo it.
Ten years ago, we lost Julia Child, one of the most memorable chefs, authors and television personalities in the world who is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public. Although many criticized her use of certain high-fat, high-calorie ingredients, Child stood firm in her belief we should all enjoy our food and believed you should take a sensible approach and enjoy things in moderation. Here are a few tips to help you celebrate the joy of eating: • Make every meal mindful. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to cook, take time to enjoy the meal. Be mentally present and appreciate the different flavors and textures. Avoid eating in front of the television or computer. • Schedule one or two leisurely meals during the week. Make the meal your and your family’s priority. This can be a great time to get the kids involved; children are more likely to try new foods when they are involved. • Think moderation. If you overindulge at every meal, you will end up feeling sluggish. Think about the foods you really enjoy and work them into your overall healthy eating plan.
By Madeline R. Vann, MPH Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH 1 Unusual Symptoms
Dementia does more than rob people of their memories — research continues to show that this complicated condition is marked by a number of symptoms, especially at the onset. But they’re not always easy to recognize: From frequent falling to failing to recognize sarcasm, some of dementia’s early warning signs are subtle. How can you know if you or a loved one is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia? Any change that is different from a person’s usual behavior or abilities could be a cause for concern, explains neuropsychologist Katherine Rankin, PhD, who conducts research at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in San Francisco. Take a look at some of the earliest signs of dementia — you may be surprised. 2 Missing Sarcasm
You may or may not appreciate sarcastic senses of humor, but sarcasm is a part of our culture. "We see it as a nice way to be critical and so we use it constantly, even when we are trying to be nice," says Rankin, whose research found that people with both frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease tend to have a harder time picking up on sarcasm. Another unusual sign of dementia Rankin noticed? People with FTD couldn't tell when someone was lying, although people with Alzheimer's disease could tell. "FTD patients don't have that sense anymore that things that people do could turn out badly," she says. 3 Frequent Falling
Constantly tripping over your own two feet? Everyone falls now and again — but frequent falling could be an early signal of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research. A 2011 study presented at Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris looked at brain scans of 125 older adults and also asked them to keep track of how often they slipped and stumbled during an eight-month span. The results? Those participants who showed early signs of Alzheimer’s also happened to fall down more often. “People will come into our office concerned because they forgot what was on their grocery list last week, but when their spouse says they’ve fallen four times in the past year, that’s a sign of a problem,” says Rankin. People with this movement disorder, known as progressive 4 A Disregard for the Law
Some younger people in the beginning stages of early-onset dementia lose their sense of social norms. Shoplifting, breaking into someone’s house, and inappropriate interpersonal behaviors, such as sexual comments or actions, all make the list of surprising dementia symptoms — and they can lead to legal trouble, too. Early-onset dementia can hit people as early as their thirties and forties, well before anyone around them would consider their out-of-character, law-breaking behaviors as signs of dementia. 5 Staring
“Reduced gaze” is the clinical term for the dementia symptom that alters people’s ability to move their eyes normally. “We all move our eyes and track with them frequently,” says Rankin. But people showing early signs of dementia look like they’re staring a lot. Rankin adds that, “they try to read and they skip lines.” This is one of the signs of dementia that the patient might not completely be aware of, although people around them probably will be. 6 Eating Objects
One surprising early sign of dementia is eating nonfood objects or foods that are rancid or spoiled. This is partly because the person forgets what to do with the things in front of them. For example, dementia patients might try to eat the flower in a vase on a restaurant table because they “know they are there to eat, but don’t know what the flower is doing there,” says Rankin. Unlike some other Alzheimer’s symptoms or dementia symptoms, this one has few other likely explanations. 7 Losing Knowledge
Now and again, most people find themselves desperately searching for the right word. In fact, failing to find the word you are thinking of is surprisingly common and not necessarily a sign of dementia, says Rankin. But losing knowledge of objects — not just what they are called, but also what they are used for — is an early dementia symptom. Oddly enough, people who are losing this knowledge can be very competent in other areas of their lives. 8 Losing Empathy
If someone who is usually sweet, considerate, and polite starts to say insulting or inappropriate things — and shows no awareness of their inappropriateness or concern or regret about what they’ve said — they could be exhibiting an early sign of dementia. In the early stages of some types of dementia, symptoms can include losing the ability to read social cues and, therefore, the ability to understand why it’s not acceptable to say hurtful things. 9 Ignoring Embarrassment
Being unable to recognize how others feel about a situation isn’t the only social cue dementia patients miss — people with dementia symptoms may also lose the ability to understand embarrassment. This is a multi-faceted sign of dementia: They themselves don’t feel embarrassed by the situations they find themselves in and they also don’t understand that situations other people are in (for example, on television sitcoms) are embarrassing or uncomfortable. 10 Compulsive, Ritualistic Behaviors
One sign of dementia that most people don’t expect is the need to complete extreme rituals or compulsive behaviors. “Plenty of people have odd habits and like things done a certain way,” says Rankin. But while these habits are within the realm of normal, extreme hoarding behaviors or detailed rituals or compulsions, such as buying a crossword puzzle book every time they go to the store even if they have hundreds of them, can be dementia symptoms. 11 Money Troubles
One of the classic early signs of Alzheimer’s disease is an increasing difficulty with money management. This might start off as having trouble balancing a checkbook or keeping up with expenses of living expenses . 12 Difficulty Speaking
“It’s a bad sign when people who used to be fluent and could speak smoothly stop being able to produce language that way,” says Rankin. Despite this dementia symptom, patients are often crystal clear in other areas. They can run a business, manage their family, or draw beautifully, but they have increased difficulty actually forming the words to speak.
The best cold remedies are often the easiest and the most reliable — chicken soup included. By Sara Calabro Medically Reviewed by Justin Laube, MD Chicken soup's legendary effectiveness at fighting colds is backed up by science. It turns out that your grandma was on to something. Soothing the common cold can be as easy as gargling with salt water and spooning down the chicken soup. Here are 10 cold remedies to try at home that will have you feeling better before you know it. 1. Drink Lots of Fluids Good hydration helps moisturize the lining of the nose and throat, which makes mucus easier to clear. Aim to drink more fluids than usual. But be sure to avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, as they can cause dehydration. 2. Use an Air Humidifier You can also help keep nasal and throat passages moist by using an air humidifier, particularly in the winter months when heating makes the air inside your home very dry. Be sure to follow the instructions to keep it clean if you are using it infrequently. 3. Try a Neti Pot Another way to prevent nasal dryness is with a neti pot, a nose-rinsing device found in drug and health-food stores (just make sure the device is clean and you’re using it properly to ensure that it’s safe and effective, according to the FDA). These pots are filled with a saline (salt water) solution and are inserted into one nostril while the user tilts his or her head to the side to allow the solution to flow up the nasal passage and out the other nostril. 4. Eat Chicken Soup The adage about chicken soup being good for a cold is practically as old as the common cold itself. And there's some truth to what your grandmother has been telling you all these years. "Chicken soup is nice for the common cold because it loosens up your mucus," says Norman Edelman, MD, a professor of preventive medicine, internal medicine, and physiology and biophysics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a senior scientific adviser for the American Lung Association. 5. Take Echinacea Evidence is mixed on the effects of echinacea on the common cold, but some experts say it can be helpful. "Echinacea does not prevent infection, but several studies have suggested that echinacea helps reduce the duration of upper respiratory infection symptoms," says Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, a professor of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. 6. Reach for Some Zinc Lozenges Like echinacea, the mineral zinc gets mixed marks when being assessed for its effectiveness against the common cold. "I have not seen any evidence for prevention," says Dr. Fugh-Berman, "but there is some evidence — according to a review article published in the June 2013 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews — that zinc in the form of lozenges can decrease the symptoms of a common cold." 7. Take Vitamin C It's up there with chicken soup as far as legendary cold remedies go, and there may be some truth to vitamin C's being helpful. Get it as a supplement or by upping your intake of vitamin C–rich foods, like citrus, green peppers, dark leafy greens, and kiwi fruit. Several studies show that it can reduce the duration and severity of a common cold, according to research published in January 2013 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 8. Give Your Nose a Massage Try massaging the acupuncture point known as yingxiang, located at the lower border of the nostril. Scientific research on the effectiveness of this technique is limited, but an older, small study published in the American Journal of Rhinology did find that this type of nasal massage can provide relief from nasal congestion. 9. Gargle With Water Research suggests that gargling with water three times a day can actually help prevent upper respiratory tract infections. So gargle away, before that common cold gets any worse. 10. Stock Your Medicine Cabinet Not exactly a home remedy in the traditional sense, but there's no denying that over-the-counter (OTC) cold remedies — such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Mucinex (guaifenesin) — can provide temporary relief. The American Lung Association recommends that these medications be taken as soon as common cold symptoms arise. If you have high blood pressure, though, talk to your doctor about OTC cold medications you should avoid. And of course, there's no substitute for eating right and getting plenty of rest to keep your immune system strong so that you're in prime shape to keep those colds at bay!
By Taryn Winter Brill There's aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen – each sold under several brand names. Here's what you need to know to choose the right one for you. When you're looking for an over-the-counter pain reliever, a walk through your local pharmacy is bound to give you headache. With so many choices and brands it can get confusing, so here are the basics. Pain Reliever: Aspirin OTC Brands: Bayer, Ecotrin Aspirin is a good general analgesic, meaning it relieves pain. It's great for anything that hurts: headaches, muscle aches, joint pains, and fevers. People with stomach or colon bleeding should never take aspirin. Also, it should never be given to children. "There's a rare incidence of something called Reye's Syndrome, which is a very serious disease that can be caused by aspirin in kids," says Bertie M. Bregman, MD, of Westside Family Medicine in New York City. Over-the-counter brands include Bayer and Ecotrin, or you can just buy a generic bottle of aspirin, which is often less expensive. "I would say that there's no discernible advantage to brand-name over generic aspirin, so you might as well just look to see what the dosage is and if it's the same. Go for whichever is cheaper," Dr. Bregman says. Pain Reliever: Acetaminophen OTC Brand: Tylenol Acetaminophen is also an analgesic, like aspirin, so it's commonly used for headaches and pain. But since this is not an anti-inflammatory substance, it won't do much for muscles or sprains. Bregman says anyone with liver problems should stay away from acetaminophen and be careful when giving it to babies. "We commonly prescribe acetaminophen for babies," Bregman says. "There's some emerging data showing a possible association between acetaminophen use and the development of asthma. That might be a reason to limit our use of acetaminophen. I think that it's still a very valuable drug in kids to decrease fevers primarily, but also for pain control. I still use it commonly but along the general theory that you should always be careful about using any medication and only use it when you have to. I avoid it when I don't have to use it because I'm waiting to hear more about this association." Pain Reliever: Ibuprofen Ibuprofen is primarily used as an analgesic for headaches, and joint and muscle pain. It lowers fever and works as well as an anti-inflammatory. It's also safe for children. Anyone with kidney problems should stay away from ibuprofen. This drug helps with headaches, and joint and muscle pain. It's especially effective as an anti-inflammatory agent for arthritis, sprains, sunburns, menstrual cramps, and other inflammation-based pain. "The main reason to choose naproxen over ibuprofen or aspirin is that it's longer lasting, so you don't have to take it as frequently. It lasts longer in your system," says Bregman. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all part of the same class of medications, known as NSAIDs, so they should never be combined. It is possible to take acetaminophen with these three, without worrying about side effects. If you're ever unsure of what to pick, the pharmacist is always a good resource. Remember if over-the-counter medicines aren't working, be sure to speak to your doctor or health care provider.