NYPress.com - New York's essential guide to culture, arts, politics, news and more » Healthy Manhattan http://nypress.com New York's essential guide to culture, arts, politics, news and more Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:46:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 When it comes to water, drink up http://nypress.com/when-it-comes-to-water-drink-up/ http://nypress.com/when-it-comes-to-water-drink-up/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 00:21:45 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=70235 Try water infused with berries: to 32 ounces of water add one to two mint stems with leaves attached and 5 to 7 fresh berries. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. For more berry flavor, muddle the berries and strain before serving.

Try water infused with berries: to 32 ounces of water add one to two mint stems with leaves attached and 5 to 7 fresh berries. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. For more berry flavor, muddle the berries and strain before serving.

For healthy drinks, avoid sugar, try adding fruit

There are many options for what to drink. But for most people with access to safe drinking water, water is the best choice: it’s calorie-free, and it’s as easy to find as the nearest tap.

Water provides everything the body needs — pure H2O — to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste. It’s the perfect beverage for quenching thirst and re-hydrating your system.

There is no one estimate for how much water the average American needs each day. Instead, the Institute of Medicine has set an adequate intake of 125 ounces (about 15 cups) for men and 91 ounces (about 11 cups) for women. Note that this is not a daily target, but a general guide. In most people, about 80 percent of this water volume comes from beverages; the rest comes from food.

Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst. Coffee and tea, without added sweeteners, are healthy choices, too.

Some beverages should be limited or consumed in moderation, including diet drinks, fruit juice and milk. Alcohol in moderation can be healthy for some people, but not everyone.

Avoid sugary drinks like soda, sports beverages, and energy drinks.

With a twist, please

For people accustomed to drinking sweet beverages, water can initially taste bland. To increase water consumption without losing flavor or to spice up your daily water intake, try infused water. Instead of purchasing expensive flavored waters in the grocery store, you can easily make your own at home. Try adding any of the following to a cold glass or pitcher of water:

n Sliced citrus fruits or zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)

n Crushed fresh mint

n Peeled, sliced fresh ginger or sliced cucumber

n Crushed berries

n Sparkling water with a splash of juice

Sparkling juices may have as many calories as sugary soda pop. Instead, make your own sparkling juice at home with 12 ounces of sparkling water and just an ounce or two of juice. For additional flavor, add sliced citrus or fresh herbs like mint.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

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Making your New Year’s resolutions stick http://nypress.com/making-your-new-years-resolutions-stick/ http://nypress.com/making-your-new-years-resolutions-stick/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 19:39:50 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=69690 Small, attainable goals are the key to success

Lose weight? Check. Start exercising? Check. Stop smoking? Check.

Health_Keeping New Ye_opt1It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February, March or even late January may increase your anxiety. When your holiday decorations are packed up and stored away, the frustration of an unused gym membership or other reminders of failed resolutions can make the later winter months feel hopeless.

However, it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.

“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on Jan. 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life. APA offers these tips when thinking about a News Year’s resolution:

• Start small — Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.

• Change one behavior at a time — Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

• Talk about it

• Share your experiences with family and friends — Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of coworkers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.

• Don’t beat yourself up — Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

• Ask for support — Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.

Source: American Psychological Association: www.apa.org/helpcenter

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Step away from the cheese dip http://nypress.com/step-away-from-the-cheese-dip/ http://nypress.com/step-away-from-the-cheese-dip/#comments Wed, 25 Dec 2013 20:14:25 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=69462 healthy holiday eating_optHoliday parties are opportunities for healthful eating — if you know where to look

Holiday parties and dinners can throw off your healthy lifestyle goals. For many of us, more than half of annual weight gain occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Some studies say the average American puts on up to 5 to 7 pounds in these few weeks.

The American Heart Association offers some simple tips to keep you on track: limit portions and empty calories, such as those in alcoholic drinks, and, before tucking into less healthy options, fill up on fruits and vegetables. Keep dessert temptations to small samples of your favorites instead of full servings, and eat mindfully to enjoy every morsel.

Many of the traditional foods served during the holidays can be healthy. The trick is to not load on the butter, cream and sugar.

Of course, exercise is critical to weight management and overall health. The American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of vigorous exercise on most days of the week. A brisk walk before or after meals can help burn those extra calories.

Free guide includes recipes and resources

healthy holiday eatin_opt1The AHA is offering its annual Holiday Healthy Eating Guide to help people navigate the holiday season. The 13-page free guide includes tips, recipes and resources, and is available free online at bit.ly/AHAHolidayGuide.

The AHA recommends making small but impactful lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s number one and four killers. Studies show that more than 80 percent of heart disease can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, exercising 30 minutes most days of the week and eating healthier.

More than 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, according to the AHA, so getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is important during the holidays and year round. The American Heart Association recommends using the personal calorie calculator at www.heart.org/explorer to first determine your daily calorie intake. The simple questionnaire offers calorie goals based on your height, weight, age and activity levels.

Also knowing how many calories are in favorite holiday menu items can help manage weight. The AHA offers healthy substitutions in the guide as well as healthy recipes.

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Top Five Reasons for Winter ER Visits http://nypress.com/top-five-reasons-for-winter-er-visits/ http://nypress.com/top-five-reasons-for-winter-er-visits/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 20:51:13 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=69228 Knowing the risks that accompany cold and inclement weather can help keep you out of the ER this season.

Healthy Manhattan phot_opt1. Slips and Falls

New Yorkers walk a lot, which means we’re battling snow and ice hazards even on familiar commutes. Once indoors, there’s a slippery situation – snow and ice that was tracked onto lobby floors.

Dr. Marc Felberbaum, who works for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center, says the best way to avoid injury is to be aware of the environment. “From what we see, there has been an increase in slip and fall injuries because people were walking while talking on their cell phones and generally not paying attention.” Wintery conditions certainly make it that much more dangerous. Here are some safety measures you can try:

Ensure your walkways and driveways are properly cleared of snow and ice.

Wear appropriate shoes or boots that will provide good traction for stable footing.

Walk carefully, particularly at night, when you may not be able to see ice on the ground.

If you have osteoporosis or brittle bones, consider waiting until sidewalks are clear, and don’t hesitate to ask for help getting around.

2. Winter Sports Injuries

Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, ice skating or sledding, there is always a small risk for fractures and ligament damage as well as head and spine injuries.

According to Dr. Felberbaum, head, back and neck injuries should be taken seriously and so should fractures. But some minor injuries can be treated at home. A good rule of thumb is to evaluate whether you have mobility or can put weight on the injury. If so, you can try the soft-tissue treatment known as RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) before heading to the doctor.

Warming up properly, wearing protective gear and using the right equipment will help minimize and prevent injuries too.

3. Shoveling-Induced Heart Attacks

It’s true that shoveling heavy, wet snow can cause excessive strain on the heart, especially for those who aren’t normally physically active, are smokers, have heart disease or other health risks.

Before shoveling, warm up with some stretching. Then be sure to dress warmly, stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. Shovel more light loads instead of fewer heavy ones. “Don’t ignore heart attack symptoms, like chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Felberbaum. “Call 9-1-1 if you think you’re having a heart attack.”

4. Exposure to the cold

Most New Yorkers don’t have to worry about hypothermia and frostbite, but it’s always good to be prepared. Being stuck outside in the elements could put you at risk.

You can prevent cold-weather threats by layering your clothing, starting with a dry-wicking material closest to your skin and then layer with cotton or wool. Remember your hat, gloves and scarf, and when it comes to footwear, choose function over fashion. Water-resistant and insulated shoes or boots are the best.

5. Influenza

A flu shot and good hand washing habits are important in the winter.

If you get sick, try to rest as much as possible and don’t rush back to your normal routine. “If you have the flu, stay home, because you’ll recover faster and minimize your chances of passing it on to others,” Dr. Felberbaum says. Flu symptoms like a fever higher than 102 degrees, severe fatigue, dehydration and shortness of breath are signs you may need to visit the ER.

If you suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart failure, or if you’re elderly, ask your doctor if you should get a pneumonia vaccine.

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10 ways to deal with caregiver stress http://nypress.com/10-ways-to-deal-with-caregiver-stress/ http://nypress.com/10-ways-to-deal-with-caregiver-stress/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:08:56 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=68824 When taking care of others, don’t neglect your own mental and physical health

It’s no secret: Helping to care for a sick or dying loved one exacts a steep emotional toll. One study found that as many as one in three caregivers rate their stress level as high, and half say they have less time for family and friends.

But when you’re caring for others, it’s critical that you first take care of yourself. By not doing so, you put yourself at risk of exhaustion, health problems and even total burnout.

These tips will help keep stress in check.

1. Put your physical needs first. Eat nutritious meals. Don’t give in to stress-driven urges for sweets or overindulge in alcohol. Get enough shut-eye; if you have trouble sleeping at night, try napping during the day. Schedule regular medical checkups. Find time to exercise, even if it means you have to ask someone else to provide care while you work out. If you experience symptoms of depression — extreme sadness, trouble concentrating, apathy, hopelessness, thoughts about death — talk to a medical professional.

2. Connect with friends. Isolation increases stress. Getting together regularly with friends and relatives can keep negative emotions at bay.

3. Ask for help. Make a list of things you have to do and recruit others to pitch in. Even faraway relatives and friends can manage certain tasks.

4. Call on community resources. Consider asking a geriatric care manager to coordinate all aspects of your loved one’s care. Other service providers, including home health aides, homemakers and home repair services, can shoulder some of the many responsibilities of caregiving.

5. Take a break. You deserve it. Plus, your ailing family member might benefit from someone else’s company. Think about respite care by friends, relatives or volunteers. Or try for a weekend or longer vacation by turning to a home health agency, nursing home, assisted living residence or board-and-care home; these facilities sometimes accept short-term residents. Adult day centers provide care in a group setting for those who need supervision.

6. Deal with your feelings. Bottling up your emotions takes a toll on your psyche — and even on your physical well-being. Share feelings of frustration with friends and family. Seek support from co-workers who are in a similar situation.

7. Find time to relax. Doing something you enjoy, such as reading, walking or listening to music, can recharge your batteries. Some caregivers meditate or use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualizing a positive place.

8. Get organized. Simple tools like calendars and to-do lists can help you prioritize your responsibilities. Always tackle the most important tasks first, and don’t worry if you can’t manage everything.

9. Just say no. Accept the fact that you simply can’t do everything! Resist the urge to take on more activities, projects or financial obligations than you can handle. If someone asks you to do something that will stretch you too thin, explain honestly why you can’t — and don’t feel guilty.

10. Stay positive. Do your best to avoid negativity. Hold a family meeting or call an elder care mediator to resolve conflicts with siblings and other relatives. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t do, pat yourself on the back for how much you are doing, and focus on the rewards of caring for someone you love.

Source: American Association for Retired People

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Five ways to sidestep Alzheimer’s disease http://nypress.com/five-ways-to-sidestep-alzheimers-disease/ http://nypress.com/five-ways-to-sidestep-alzheimers-disease/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:07:39 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=68821 There’s no surefire way to prevent the disease, but some simple steps may lower risk factors

Have you noticed memory problems piling up in ways that affect daily life in yourself or someone you love? Do you find yourself struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word, becoming confused in new places, or botching tasks that once came easily?

sidestepping alzheimer_optAbout 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and estimates suggest it will affect 7.7 million by 2030. Already, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. A recent international survey identified Alzheimer’s as the second most feared disease, behind cancer. It’s no wonder.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive damage to nerve cells and their connections. The result is devastating and includes memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulties with verbal communication, and even personality changes. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may live anywhere from two to 20 years after diagnosis. Those years are spent in an increasingly dependent state that exacts a staggering emotional, physical, and economic toll on families.

A number of factors influence the likelihood that you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these you can’t control, such as age, gender, and family history. But there are things you can do to help lower your risk. As it turns out, the mainstays of a healthy lifestyle — exercise, watching your weight, and eating right — appear to lower Alzheimer’s risk.

While there are no surefire ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, by following the five steps below you may lower your risk for this disease — and enhance your overall health as well.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. Cut back on calories and increase physical activity if you need to shed some pounds.

2. Check your waistline. To accurately measure your waistline, use a tape measure around the narrowest portion of your waist (usually at the height of the navel and lowest rib). A National Institutes of Health panel recommends waist measurements of no more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

3. Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; protein sources such as fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes; plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.

4. Exercise regularly. This simple step does great things for your body. Regular physical activity helps control weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, rowing), can also help chip away total body fat and abdominal fat over time. Aim for 2 1/2 to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.

5. Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, ask your doctor whether your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar are within healthy ranges. Exercise, weight loss if needed, and medications (if necessary) can help keep these numbers on target.

Source: Harvard Medical School

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Link discovered between diabetes and heart disease http://nypress.com/link-discovered-between-diabetes-and-heart-disease/ http://nypress.com/link-discovered-between-diabetes-and-heart-disease/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:06:45 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=68818 High blood glucose causes sugar molecule in heart muscle to trigger irregular heartbeats

Researchers have identified for the first time a biological pathway that is activated when blood sugar levels are abnormally high and causes irregular heartbeats, a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia that is linked with heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

diabetes and heart ris_optReported online in October in the journal Nature, the discovery by UC Davis Health System researchers helps explain why diabetes is a significant independent risk factor for heart disease.

“The novel molecular understanding we have uncovered paves the way for new therapeutic strategies that protect the heart health of patients with diabetes,” said Donald Bers, chair of the UC Davis Department of Pharmacology and senior author of the study.

While heart disease is common in the general population, the risk is up to four times greater for diabetics, according to the National Institutes of Health. The American Heart Association estimates that at least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke and has emphasized the need for research focused on understanding this relationship.

Through a series of experiments, Bers, his UC Davis team and their collaborators at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine showed that the moderate to high blood glucose levels characteristic of diabetes caused a sugar molecule, O-GlcNAc, in heart muscle cells to fuse to a specific site on a protein known as calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, or CaMKII.

CaMKII has important roles in regulating normal calcium levels, electrical activity and pumping action of the heart, according to Bers. Its fusion with O-GlcNAc, however, led to chronic overactivation of CaMKII and pathological changes in the finely tuned calcium signaling system it controls, triggering full-blown arrhythmias in just a few minutes. The arrhythmias were prevented by inhibiting CaMKII or its union with O-GlcNAc.

“While scientists have known for a while that CaMKII plays a critical role in normal cardiac function, ours is the first study to identify O-GlcNAc as a direct activator of CaMKII with hyperglycemia,” said Bers.

A comprehensive approach allowed Bers and his team to identify the specific site of sugar attachment to CaMKII, along with how that attachment activated CaMKII and caused calcium-dependent arrhythmias.

“Since O-GlcNAc is directly made from glucose and serves as a major nutrient sensor in regulating most cellular processes, it is perhaps not surprising that attachment of this sugar to proteins is emerging as a major molecular mechanism of glucose toxicity in diabetes,” said Gerald Hart, DeLamar Professor and director of biological chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and one of Bers’ collaborators. “The findings undoubtedly will lead to development of treatments for diabetic cardiovascular disease and, potentially, therapeutics for glucose toxicity in other tissues that are affected by diabetes such as the retina, the nervous system and the kidney.”

In an additional experiment, the team found elevated levels of O-GlcNAc-modified CaMKII in both hearts and brains of deceased humans who were diagnosed with diabetes, with the highest levels in the hearts of patients who had both heart failure and diabetes.

“Our discovery is likely to have ripple effects in many other fields,” said Bers. “One key next step will be to determine if the fusion of O-GlcNAc to CaMKII contributes to neuropathies that are also common among diabetics.”

The research was funded by the American Heart Association, National Science Foundation, Fondation Leducq Transatlantic CaMKII Alliance and the National Institutes of Health.

Source: University of California/Davis: http://healthsystem.ucdavis.edu

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Canned soup linked to higher BPA levels http://nypress.com/canned-soup-linked-to-higher-bpa-levels/ http://nypress.com/canned-soup-linked-to-higher-bpa-levels/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:04:10 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=68813 Found in the can’s lining, BPA is associated with adverse health effects

canned soup BPA_optA new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health has found that a group of volunteers who consumed a serving of canned soup each day for five consecutive days had a more than 1,000 percent increase in urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations compared with the same individuals who then consumed fresh soup daily for five days. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

“Previous studies have linked elevated BPA levels with adverse health effects,” said Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “The next step was to figure out how people are getting exposed to BPA. We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use.”

canned soup BPA 2_optExposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical BPA, used in the lining of metal food and beverage cans, has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity in humans. In addition to the lining of food and beverage cans, BPA is also found in polycarbonate bottles (identified by the recycling number 7) and dentistry composites and sealants.

The researchers note that the elevation in urinary BPA concentrations may be temporary and that further research is needed to quantify its duration.

Make it fresh  You can easily make fresh soup without opening cans. This white bean and vegetable soup is made with frozen spinach and easily stockable pantry items. Ingredients  2 cups dried navy beans   4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon, diced   1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)   2 stalks celery, diced  9 cups water  1/2 teaspoon anise seed   2 fresh tomatoes, chopped   1/4 cup parsley, chopped   2 tablespoons parsley, minced   1/4 teaspoon salt  1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper   1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted   2 clove garlic   1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil   1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice  Directions 1. Quick-soak the beans: Place beans in large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and set aside. 2. Make the soup: In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until browned but not crisp. Add the onions and celery and sauté until translucent — about 5 minutes. Add the water beans, and anise seed. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add tomatoes, minced parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper and continue to simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender — about 1 hour. 3. Place spinach, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and remaining salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth. Set aside. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Make it fresh
You can easily make fresh soup without opening cans. This white bean and vegetable soup is made with frozen spinach and easily stockable pantry items.
2 cups dried navy beans
4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced
9 cups water
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
2 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Quick-soak the beans: Place beans in large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
2. Make the soup: In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until browned but not crisp. Add the onions and celery and sauté until translucent — about 5 minutes. Add the water beans, and anise seed. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add tomatoes, minced parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper and continue to simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender — about 1 hour.
3. Place spinach, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and remaining salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth. Set aside. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

“It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings,” said Karin Michels, senior author of the study.

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Researchers find a new way to grow hair http://nypress.com/researchers-find-a-new-way-to-grow-hair/ http://nypress.com/researchers-find-a-new-way-to-grow-hair/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 18:03:07 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=68597 For the first time, researchers create — not just stimulate — hair follicles to grow new hair

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have devised a hair restoration method that can grow new hair, rather than simply redistribute hair from one part of the scalp to another.

new way to grow hair 2_optThe approach could significantly expand the use of hair transplantation to women with hair loss, who tend to have insufficient donor hair, as well as to men in the early stages of baldness. The study was published Oct. 21 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“About 90 percent of women with hair loss are not strong candidates for hair transplantation surgery because of insufficient donor hair,” said co-study leader Angela M. Christiano, PhD, the Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and professor of genetics and development. “This method offers the possibility of inducing large numbers of hair follicles or rejuvenating existing hair follicles, starting with cells grown from just a few hundred donor hairs. It could make hair transplantation available to individuals with a limited number of follicles, including those with female-pattern hair loss, scarring alopecia, and hair loss due to burns.”

The source of new hair

For the first time, researchers have been able to take human dermal papilla cells — those inside the base of human hair follicles — and use them to create new hairs.

According to Dr. Christiano, such patients gain little benefit from existing hair-loss medications, which tend to slow the rate of hair loss but usually do not stimulate robust new hair growth.

“Dermal papilla cells give rise to hair follicles, and the notion of cloning hair follicles using inductive dermal papilla cells has been around for 40 years or so,” said co-study leader Colin Jahoda, PhD, professor of stem cell sciences at Durham University, England, and co-director of North East England Stem Cell Institute, who is one of the early founders of the field. “However, once the dermal papilla cells are put into conventional, two-dimensional tissue culture, they revert to basic skin cells and lose their ability to produce hair follicles. So we were faced with a Catch-22: how to expand a sufficiently large number of cells for hair regeneration while retaining their inductive properties.”

The researchers found a clue to overcoming this barrier in their observations of rodent hair. Rodent papillae can be easily harvested, expanded, and successfully transplanted back into rodent skin, a method pioneered by Dr. Jahoda several years ago. The main reason that rodent hair is readily transplantable, the researchers suspected, is that their dermal papillae, unlike human papillae, tend to spontaneously aggregate, or form clumps, in tissue culture. The team reasoned that these aggregations must create their own extracellular environment, which allows the papillae to interact and release signals that ultimately reprogram the recipient skin to grow new follicles.

“This suggested that if we cultured human papillae in such a way as to encourage them to aggregate the way rodent cells do spontaneously, it could create the conditions needed to induce hair growth in human skin,” said first author Claire A. Higgins, PhD, associate research scientist.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers harvested dermal papillae from seven human donors and cloned the cells in tissue culture. After a few days, the cultured papillae were transplanted between the dermis and epidermis of human skin that had been grafted onto the backs of mice. In five of the seven tests, the transplants resulted in new hair growth that lasted at least six weeks. DNA analysis confirmed that the new hair follicles were human and genetically matched the donors.

“This approach has the potential to transform the medical treatment of hair loss,” said Dr. Christiano. “Current hair-loss medications tend to slow the loss of hair follicles or potentially stimulate the growth of existing hairs, but they do not create new hair follicles. Neither do conventional hair transplants, which relocate a set number of hairs from the back of the scalp to the front. Our method, in contrast, has the potential to actually grow new follicles using a patient’s own cells. This could greatly expand the utility of hair restoration surgery to women and to younger patients — now it is largely restricted to the treatment of male-pattern baldness in patients with stable disease.”

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Study: Snacking on almonds keeps weight in check http://nypress.com/study-snacking-on-almonds-keeps-weight-in-check/ http://nypress.com/study-snacking-on-almonds-keeps-weight-in-check/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 18:02:18 +0000 http://nypress.com/?p=68595 1.5 ounces of almonds daily also improved intake of vitamin E and monounsaturated fat

A new study published in the October issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating 1.5 ounces of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (“good”) fat intake without increasing body weight.

Ninety-seven percent of Americans eat at least one snack per day, which is a risk factor for gaining weight. But this broad generalization may mask different responses to select foods.

The newly published four-week randomized, controlled clinical study, led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond snacking on weight and appetite. The study included 137 adults at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. They were divided into five groups: a control group that avoided all nuts and seeds, a breakfast meal group and lunch meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds each with their daily breakfast or lunch, and a morning snack group and afternoon snack group that each consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds between their customary meals. All almond snacks were eaten within approximately two hours after their last meal and two hours before their next meal.

Participants were not given any other instruction other than to follow their usual eating patterns and physical activity. Participants were monitored through self-reported assessments and fasting vitamin E plasma levels.

Despite consuming approximately 250 additional calories per day from almonds, participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day or gain weight over the course of the four-week study.

“This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator. “In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack.”

Almonds have also previously been shown to increase satiety in both normal weight and overweight people. This may be attributed to almonds’ monounsaturated fat (13 grams/ounce), protein (6 grams/ounce) and fiber (4 grams/ounce) content. But further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms.

Additionally, a recent study measuring digestibility found that whole almonds contain 20 percent fewer calories than the Nutrition Facts Panel states, suggesting that because of their rigid cell structure, not all calories are available for absorption. Further research is needed to better understand how this technique for calculating calories could potentially affect the calorie count of other foods.

The new study suggests snacking can be a weight-wise strategy, depending upon the foods consumed. A handful of almonds is a smart snack choice that can help support a healthy weight.

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