Lack Of Sleep Effects Include Risk Of High Blood Pressure

An important new study that appears in the June 8, 2009 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine has found that middle-aged adults suffering from lack of sleep effects are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, contributes to 7 million deaths around the world each and every year. One third of American’s are affected.

In this latest work, University of Chicago researchers collected data such as blood pressure readings as well as other clinical, demographic and health variables on study subjects.

Duration of sleep was measured using surveys and a special sensor on the wrist that kept track of rest and activity for the 578 participants, all of an average age of 40.

In both 2000-2001 initial measurements were taken, then in 2005 and 2006 blood pressure, demographic and self reported sleep information were measured once again.

The researchers found that those who slept fewer hours are much more likely to have higher blood pressure readings than those who slept longer.

These sleep-starved adults were also more likely to develop high blood pressure over time.

After five years of the study, the team noted that each hour less of sleep was associated with a 37% increase in the odds of hypertension – both systolic (top) and diastolic (bottom) numbers were elevated.

The study excluded subjects from the mix who were taking prescription medication for high blood pressure. They also used statistics to account for factors that might affect high blood pressure, things like age, sex and race. They saw that black men had the higher blood pressures than either white men or women.

“Identifying a novel lifestyle risk factor for high blood pressure could lead to new interventions to prevent or reduce high blood pressure,” Kristen L. Knutson’s team wrote.

“Laboratory studies of short-term sleep deprivation have suggested potential mechanisms for a causal link between sleep loss and hypertension.”

The average hours a sleep a night for the participants in the study was 6 hours.

Only a lucky 1% of subjects got more than 8 hours a night. Black men tended to get the fewest hours of sleep. “These two observations suggested the intriguing possibility that the well-documented higher blood pressure in African Americans and men might be partly related to sleep duration,” the study authors conclude.

The team believes that sleep deprivation affects the stress response of the body and this can raise the risk of developing hypertension.

Beyond being sure you get enough sleep by practicing healthy sleep habits, there are other things you can do to keep your blood pressure under control.

- Lose weight by eating fewer calories than you burn.

- Eat heart healthy food, plenty of fruits and veggies, low total fats and avoid food high in saturated fats and cholesterol.

- Reduce your salt intake and be sure to read labels to find the sodium in foods you buy.

- Practice moderation in alcohol consumption – no more than 2 drinks a day for men, 1 drink a day for women.

- Get more active – start slowly and build over time, at least 30 minutes a day of moderately intense activity is your goal.

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Medical Doctor Reveals The Shocking Truth

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Lack Of Sleep Ups Risk Of High Blood Pressure Continued

- Don’t smoke – if you do try to quit or cut down.

- Learn about your blood pressure reading and what you need to know about medication to treat your condition.

- If you’re prescribed high blood pressure medication, take it as prescribed.

No matter how old you are, or what shape you’re in, you can do something to lower your blood pressure.

This study encourages anyone who’s worried about lack of sleep effects on hypertension to ensure they have a regular sleep pattern, as well as taking some of the other steps experts recommend to keep your blood pressure under control.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Walking or Biking To Work Better for Fitness

If you live in the city and your job is close by, you may have considered walking (or biking, jogging, in-line skating, even skateboarding) to work. The benefit of this is that it’s better for fitness levels overall.

According to the first large U.S. study of health and commuting, very few of us actually do it – in fact just under 17% of working adults surveyed walked or bicycled for any part of their commute.

Earlier research has found that countries with the highest levels of walking or biking have lower obesity levels as well.

But research on how these activities might affect Americans has been pretty scarce, until this cross-sectional study. This latest work appears in the July 13, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Of the study participants, 192 (18%) of the men, 203 (16%) of the women were considered active commuters. The average length of the physical part of their daily commute for both the bikers and walkers was 5 miles. Most of the subjects walked, rather than biked, to work.

The research found that active commuters did better on treadmill tests of fitness, even when they accounted for any other physical activities subjects did in their leisure time.

The findings here suggest that the activity of commuting to work can have an impact on overall fitness.

The participants, more than 2,300 city-dwellers in their middle years were taking part in a federally funded study known as Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA).

For men, but not women, researchers found that the commuters who walked or biked had better BMI numbers, blood pressure, insulin and triglycerides.

The researchers explain these by suggesting that the women in the study walked or biked shorter distances to the office, or were less vigorous in their workouts.

“Even if you adjust for other forms of physical activity, walking or biking to work really does add an additional benefit,” explains Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “It really shows that working physical activity in, even if you can’t get to a gym, could have beneficial health outcomes for people.”

Of course there’s also the problem of which came first, are already active people more likely to be active commuters as well, or is the walk (or bike) to work planting the seed for being more active in other areas of life as well?

Being an active commuter isn’t easy.

Beyond the challenge of arriving to work sweat-covered and panting, an active commute is often hampered by crumbling sidewalks, few bike paths and real concerns about safety.

Zoning in many U.S. cities keeps commercial and residential areas separate, and this makes commutes longer and being active along the way nearly impossible.

Cities that build bike paths have higher rates of biking, as do workplaces that have on-site showers, changing areas and a secure place to keep your bike during the day.

Continues below…


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Professional Trainer (CPT) Reveals Truth About Quick Fat Loss…

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Better Fitness Linked To Walking, Biking To Work… Continued

The benefits of active commuting go beyond your own health and the pluses to the environment to include:

- Reliable, predictable means to get to and from work, or a point along the way

- Works for businesses by encouraging workplace health as well as corporate responsibility

- Reduces stress and improves productivity of the commuters

More research is needed to find the amount of active commuting that will benefit your health, but this earth and health friendly way to get from home to work is certainly going to get more attention over the coming years as it appears to be better for fitness levels overall.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Calorie Restricted Diets May Be Best Bet To Stop Disease and Halt Aging

Adults, especially young people, have yet another reason for cutting the calories you take in per day. If the monkeys from some very positive research appearing in Science are any guide, by following calorie restricted diets you’ll live longer, look younger and stay disease free.

Monkeys, as close as you can get genetically to people, fed a calorie-restricted diet live longer, have fewer signs of aging and less disease – conditions like cardiovascular disease, brain atrophy and even cancer – according to some new fascinating research.

During the twenty-year study, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found 50% of the monkeys allowed to eat as they wished were still alive, while 80% of monkeys who ate the same foods but with a third less calories have survived.

Other experts believe the long life span of monkeys (about 40 years) means conclusions on longevity and diet can’t yet be drawn and we need to wait a bit to be sure.

“This is the largest and most highly controlled study showing the beneficial effects of calorie restriction on disease and survival in a primate species,” says study author Ricki J. Colman, PhD, of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

“We believe that what works in primates will work in humans because primates are so closely related to humans. This has allowed us to understand the mechanisms of the aging process.”

The pioneering but long term study began in 1989 with 30 rhesus macaques and was intended to look at the health effects of a calorie-restricted diet.

Earlier work from 1935 had shown that mice fed a calorie restricted diet lived up to 40% longer – the team wanted to see if the same could be true for primates.

In 1994 the research was expanded with the addition of 46 additional animals. All the subjects were adults when they were enrolled, and of the original 76 in the study, 37% of the control monkeys lost their lives to age-related causes – 13% of the animal’s fed a restricted calorie diet died of similar consequences.

The incidence of cancerous tumors and heart disease in the monkeys who ate restricted calorie diets was half that of the animals allowed to eat what they liked.

Incidentally, the oldest monkey still in the study is control subject Owen, who is 29, two years older than the average life span of 27 years in captivity.

One of the more remarkable findings of the research came in the case of diabetes (or pre-diabetes).

This condition was found in 42% of the control monkeys who ate as they liked and none of the monkeys on the restricted calorie diet.

“So far, we’ve seen the complete prevention of diabetes,” points out Richard Weindruch, PhD, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and another author of the study.

And when it comes to brain health, the animals who ate a calorie-restricted diet were better off here too, according to Sterling Johnson, a neuroscientist and another of the researchers.

Continues below…


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Restricting Calories May Be Best Bet To Stop Disease and Halt Aging… Continued

The study found that the areas of the brain that are tied to short-term memory and problem solving are better preserved in these subjects.

These same brain results have been seen on other studies on animals like fish, mice, worms, rodents and spiders. All the experts can say for sure right now is that there are differences in areas of the brain that might be related to what a subject ate.

A rather limited number of these same types of studies have been tried on humans, and have yielded fewer signs of cardiovascular aging according to experts.

More work needs to be done, and researchers who study aging are divided on what stock to put in this work, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sound case for following calorie restricted diets to keep your body healthy and fit today and also as you age.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Breast Mammograms May Mean Over-Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer

Today breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, after lung cancer. As a result, yearly breast mammograms have become common for women over 40, or anyone at high risk of developing this dangerous, disfiguring disease.

Now that programs like this are in place, experts had expected that the number of cases of advanced breast cancer would drop off, but that’s not happening.

Instead the incidence of breast cancer seems to have gone up since widespread screening became part of our yearly exams. Why?

Women know that early detection of breast cancer can save lives, but that doesn’t make going for that yearly mammogram any less nerve wracking or uncomfortable.

We endure the testing because we’ve been told we need to find lumps when they’re too small to feel or bring symptoms, before they have a chance to grow and cause trouble.

But do all cancers cause problems?

Late last year a large Norwegian study of mammography screening for breast cancer found that some invasive cancers might spontaneously regress over time, leaving no sign that they were ever present in a woman’s body.

The study authors pointed out, “This raises the possibility that the natural course of some screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress.”

Makes you wonder, now that we can screen for it, if breast cancer isn’t over diagnosed or over treated.

This latest BMJ report citing an over-diagnosis rate for invasive breast cancer of 35% could truly have you re-thinking that yearly mammogram.

Besides breast cancer, over-diagnosis has also been mentioned for cancer of the prostate as well as neuroblastoma, melanoma, thyroid cancer and lung cancer.

The latest work on over-diagnosis comes from researchers out of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen.

The team looked at the findings of studies that spanned a 14-year period. 7 years before public mammography screenings were available, and 7 years after government run mammography-screening programs were in place in five different countries (United Kingdom, Canada, New South Wales, Australia, Manitoba, Sweden and areas in Norway)

They found an over-diagnosis rate of 52% for all cancers, 35% for invasive breast cancer.

The data shows a jump in breast cancer incidence just after the screening programs were put in place.

What this work suggests, as did the Norwegian study before it, that perhaps not all cancers need to be treated, some might grow too slowly to affect a patient and others may resolve on their own.

It’s important to know that no doctor or current screening technique can tell the difference between a cancer that’s dangerous and one that might not be.

In a BMJ editorial that’s published along with the research, professor of medicine Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Research recognizes the problem of over-diagnosis, understanding the trauma and terror a woman endures after being given such news by her doctor.

Surgery and chemotherapy bring their own set of difficulties that are physically demanding and emotionally draining, and a terrible trial for patients and families. Especially those whose cancers might not have needed to be treated at all.

Continues below…


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This Doctor Dropped 10 Sizes – Discover Her Shocking Secret

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Mammography May Mean Over-Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer Continued

While this latest study is still not an excuse, or recommendation, to put off your yearly mammogram, it does raise some rather nagging questions.

Until we know more, each woman has to decide for herself whether to continue with yearly breast mammograms, keeping in mind the words of breast cancer experts. “We do know that breast cancer survival has increased, and we do know that screening increases survival,” points out Dr. Richard J. Bleicher, a breast cancer surgeon with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “Some of that screening has let us detect earlier cancers.”

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Effects of the Flu Worse for Obese

There are a small number of A (H1N1) swine flu cases in Michigan that have experts wondering why the effects of the flu are worse for people who are classed as obese.

If you’ve got a BMI over 30, you’re considered obese, and even though you aren’t sickly, you still may be at increased risk of severe complications (and even death) from the new A (H1N1) swine flu virus according to a report released in early July.

This comes from work on patients in a Michigan hospital during May-June 2009 who were so sick from the flu they were hospitalized and put on ventilators.

Three of the ten died, and two of those deaths were otherwise healthy patients considered severely obese, with BMIs of over 40.

The study wasn’t designed to see if obesity was linked to A (H1N1), but it was a surprise that seven out of the ten patients admitted to the University of Michigan Medical Center were extremely obese. Nine out of the ten fell into the obese category.

“What this suggests is that there can be severe complications associated with this virus infection, especially in severely obese patients,” explains Dr. Tim Uyeki, an expert on viruses from the CDC and a co-author of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “And five of these patients had… evidence of blood clots in the lungs. This has not been previously known to occur in patients with severe influenza virus infections.”

While complications like blood clots in the lungs and kidney failure had been seen in swine flu cases before, the numbers here were startling.

There were six out of ten who experienced kidney failure along with five who developed blood clots in the lungs.

Only three of the ten patients had another health problem. None of the surviving patients have fully recovered according to researchers.

The good news out of the report is that doctors can safely double the dose of oseltamivir, the antiviral drug known as Tamiflu, that’s been shown to be effective against this organism.

While research cannot conclude from these observations that obesity is a risk factor for A (H1M1), or complications from the illness. It’s always possible that the patients had some undiagnosed condition complicated by the flu.

Overweight people also have a higher risk of asthma and other health problems that might make them more susceptible to this particular virus.

The CDC has the number of U.S. swine flu (lab tested and confirmed) cases at over 37,000, but they admit this doesn’t represent the actual number of cases across the country.

Experts believe that as many as one million Americans may have been infected with the A (H1N1) virus, suffered a mild to moderate illness and recovered unharmed.

To date A (H1N1) has spread to 70 countries around the world, with the United States reporting the largest number of cases.

Barely three months after its first appearance In March 2009, A (H1N1) was declared a pandemic (a mark of the virus’ ability to spread, not its seriousness) by the World Health Organization in June.

At present A (H1N1) flu is spreading steadily in the Southern Hemisphere, right along with seasonal flu.

Though the virus is not as deadly as past examples, and has not mutated into a more virulent form, experts are still wary, still studying and learning all they can.

Researchers have noticed some differences between the A (H1N1) swine flu and the seasonal variety.

- Spreads in the summer months

- Affects mainly older children and young adults

- Affects the body differently – replicates in the lungs and digestive tract

Continues below…


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Obesity May Be A Risk For Severe A (H1N1) Flu Continued

While the report can support no hard-and-fast conclusion on obesity and swine flu, it does paint an interesting picture of the patient most likely to be severely ill.

It also adds to a pattern doctor’s are seeing in hospitals around the world – a BMI greater than 40 (considered morbidly obese) puts patients at risk for respiratory complications that are very hard to treat.

You can reduce your risks of complications by living a healthy lifestyle – eat healthy, exercise often, don’t smoke, and if you drink do so in moderation.

Anyone who’s overweight or obese and worried about the effects of the flu on their health can look at A (H1N1) as yet another reason to take control of their weight, their health and their life.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Bottled Water Safety In Question

The safety of our food supply has been in the news a lot of late. Recalls of spinach, sprouts, peanut butter and cookie dough have got many people wondering how safe the food is that we’re buying. As if that’s not trouble enough, bottled water safety is now being called into question.

You see unlike your local water utility, bottled water companies don’t have to have their water tested by a certified lab, and they aren’t under any obligation to notify customers if something’s wrong.

In fact, the water you pay for can actually be worse for you than what you can drink for free at home.

Unsettling but true – two new reports find that the bottled water you’re paying for just isn’t checked as thoroughly for safety as the water that’s coming out of your kitchen faucet.

Local water utilities are required to show public reports of water testing, while bottled brands are not.

In 2008 Americans consumed double the amount of bottled water – 8.6 billion gallons – than we did just ten years ago.

We think of this type of water as pure, helped along by the repetition of ads and images on the packaging, somehow this water seems safer, healthier, and tastier and convenience is certainly a factor.

The two reports, one from the Government Accountability Office, the second from nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Working Group (EQG) raise questions about the safety of bottled water.

EWG surveyed the labels and web sites of about 200 of the most popular bottled water brands, but found less than 2% of the bottlers disclosed three key facts that can affect safety – the water’s source, the purification methods used and the chemical pollutants in each bottle.

Some of the most popular (Whole Foods and San Pellegrino) brands were remiss in stating where the water came from or how it was purified.

The waters you might not expect to be so forthcoming, Walgreens or Sam’s Club, were actually high scoring compared to the more well known brands.

“In so many cases we just don’t have the information on what the source actually is,” said Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for research of the Environmental Working Group. “Almost one-third of bottled waters have no information on their label.”

So if you love a cool, clear, refreshing drink of water – what should you do?

Experts suggest that activated carbon water filters, Brita is a name you know, are both safe and economical ways to enjoy your tap water while also being sure it’s clean.

Reverse osmosis filters are able to eliminate all impurities from water, but can be pricey.

If you continue to enjoy your bottled water, look for details on those labels – a source, purification methods, a phone number and remember that this water should have no taste.

Continues below…


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Bottled Water May Be No Better, Safer or Purer Than Tap Continued

As for the FDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been given little authority to regulate the bottled waters according to a report to congress that’s just been released.

The agency does require water manufacturer’s to test for contaminants and other problems, but if the water fails, the public doesn’t hear about it. This could change if an amendment is made to legislation known as the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 that’s making its way through Congress.

“We do monitor and inspect the bottled water, the same as we do food,” points out FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey in an interview with the New York Times. “I don’t think that they should think it’s totally unregulated.” However, if you’re concerned about bottle water safety probably best to stick with filtered tap water.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Six Secrets To Stop Feeling Depressed During A Recession

The tight economic times aren’t just hard on our wallets (and 401Ks) they bump up our stress level too. But you can stop feeling depressed with these 6 secret steps.

Job insecurity, financial pressures and constant uncertainty that on top of the hustle-bustle of our everyday lives all contribute to a steadily mounting stress level.

What’s worse, if you ignore stress (prolonged, unexpected or unmanageable) this doesn’t make it go away. In fact, the destructive consequences of long-term stress on the body and mind are all the worse if you don’t do anything to manage it.

With regular reports of gloomy economic numbers, it’s no surprise that the most recent Stress in America survey found that our financial worries are taking a physical and emotional toll on everyone, with working women bearing the brunt of the stress.

Nearly half of the nearly 1,800 adult respondents said their stress levels were up over a year ago. People reported fatigue, being irritable or angry, or lying awake at night because of stress.

Women are more likely to report these stress symptoms than men.

Veterans of the stress management world, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry Dr. Paul J. Rosch, and research psychologist Deborah Rozman recommend these strategies to cope:

1. Volunteer - not the thing you’d expect to top a list like this, but Rozman insists it’s a great strategy. “Volunteering actually opens you up to possibilities,” she explains. The amazing thing is that there is no shortage of opportunities. Think about a church or local event, a food pantry or soup kitchen, driving elderly neighbors to appointments – All these are examples of ways to get your mind off you. What’s more this will “reopen the heart,” according to Rozman, “because the heart gets shut down when you worry.”

2. Practice appreciation – by changing your outlook, focusing on what you still have, you can do yourself a world of good. Rozman explains. “If you still have a job, appreciate that.” Look for the good in your life and take a moment to enjoy these things, whatever they might be. She contends that doing this will help to bring hope back to your heart.

3. Tweak traditional de-stress advice - do what works for you. You’ve heard about regular exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and the relaxation techniques you might use to calm yourself. “You have to find out what works for you so that you will practice and adhere to it because it relieves tension and makes you feel better,” Dr. Rosch points out. “Jogging, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and listening to music are great for some but dull, boring and stressful when arbitrarily imposed on others.”

4. Decrease the drama - that’s around you as much as possible. Even if you can’t be rid of it all, cut some out. For example, Rozman points out that those who are in fear of losing a job might tend to grumble more. This only adds to your stress and makes the environment around you miserable too. “Drama is when we amp up anger, anxiety or fear,” Rozman continues. Rather than piling on to a stress filled discussion, try to change the subject or the tone.

5. Ration your news diet - and you’ll notice the difference at once. The news, now always-on and intent on disaster is full of gloom and doom. Limit your viewing, Rozman suggests, deciding how much you can watch to stay informed without being overwhelmed.

6. Stop the comparisons - they’re hard to avoid in times like these, but they are no help in the end. “Don’t compare the present with the past,” Rozman says. Give yourself time to mourn and heal after a setback. But then you must move on. Instead of thinking about what you’ve lost, think instead about what you can still do to reach your goals.

Continues below…


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Six Secrets To De-Stressing Your Life During A Recession Continued

By using these suggestions to cope with the stress around you, shifting focus to the positive, you’ll be able to put this troublesome feature of our modern world in its place.

While experts have found that stress can add years to a person, they also know that those who cope effectively have higher levels of good cholesterol.

Finding coping strategies that work for you and keeping a positive, upbeat attitude are the sure-fire ways to manage the stressful situations to come and to help you stop feeling depressed.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Intake Of High Carb Foods and Cancer

Swedish researchers report a link between the intake of high carb foods and cancer, as the overall glycemic load of a woman’s diet can impact her chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm looked at data from the late 1980s when 61,433 female subjects filled out food frequency questionnaires.

Over the course of the 17-year study, 2,952 of the women developed breast cancer, and the investigators found that glycemic load “was significantly positively associated with risk of overall breast cancer.”

The Swedish team discovered that women with high glycemic load diets were more likely to have developed breast cancer.

What’s more, the carb intake, glycemic index and glycemic load were all positively associated with a particular type – estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/progesterone receptor (PR)-negative breast cancer.

Women who consumed the highest glycemic index diet had a 44% higher risk of this type of breast cancer as compared to women with the lowest glycemic index diet.

Women in the highest category of glycemic load had an 81% increased risk of ER+/PR- tumors, and those with the highest carb intake had a 34% increased risk, compared to those who groups who had lower intakes.

The research team believes that the high glycemic load diets might up the breast cancer risk by increasing concentrations of insulin and sex hormones. These are suspected in contributing to the development and spread of breast cancer cells. The work appears in the July 2009 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

You’ve probably heard about the glycemic index – the idea that different types of carbs have distinct effects on blood sugar in the body.

The glycemic index ranks foods (from 0 to 100) in terms of what they do to blood glucose levels. High glycemic index foods tend to bring a rapid surge in blood sugar. Low glycemic index foods bring a slower change in blood sugar.

A glycemic index of 70 (or more) is considered high; 56-69 is medium and anything below 55 is low. The reason eating a lot of high glycemic foods can be troublesome is that it continually pushes your body to extremes, especially if you’re not all that active or are overweight already.

Glycemic load is a newer way to look at the impact of carbs. It works with the glycemic index, but tells you more than how fast a particular food turns into sugar.

The glycemic load also includes how much of a carb is in a serving of particular food. Experts believe you need to take speed of action and the amount of carbs into account if you want to truly understand how a food will affect blood sugar.

Foods that have a low glycemic load nearly always have a low glycemic index as well.

Switching to a low glycemic index diet is easier than you think, all you do is put low glycemic index carbs in place of the high ones. Here are some things to try:

- Choose breakfast cereals with oats, barley or bran

- Eat breads that have whole grains or stone-ground flour or sour dough

- Cut the number of potatoes you eat; substitute with whole grain pasta,

noodles or quinoa

- Eat any kind of fruit or vegetables you like (avoid the root ones though), as much as you like

- Choose Basmati or Doongara rice

- Use vinegar and lemon juice dressings

Continues below…


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Intake Of Carbs Tied To Breast Cancer Risk Continued

Beyond reducing your risk for this particular type of breast cancer, low glycemic index diets are a healthy way to lose weight and lower your cholesterol.

Eating like this can also be a natural way to manage diabetes.

Eating healthily doesn’t mean you’ll never get to eat high glycemic foods – in fact, these have a place in every diet, in strict moderation of course, as these foods are ideal for re-fueling stores of carbs after an intense workout. The idea is to limit them and choose better options any time you can to avoid the risk of foods and cancer being linked.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Stop And Savor Those Happy Moments for Emotional Strength

Want to be happy, satisfied with life and have emotional strength?

According to some new research that appears in the June 2009 issue of the journal Emotion, the way to do this is to focus every day on in-the-moment bits of happiness.

By taking time to stop and truly appreciate the good things that happen to you every day, the view from your window, a birdsong, the laughter of your children, a good joke, the thrill of a sporting event or simply whatever makes you feel joy and evokes positive feelings also helps to boost your overall satisfaction with life.

It also helps build resilience that will take you through tough times, and help fight off depression, manage stress.

As part of this unique work, 86 student volunteers gave “emotion reports” each day for a one-month period. The subjects were assessed in terms of their life satisfaction as well as overall resilience at the beginning and then again at the end of the testing period.

Positive emotions predicted increases in life satisfaction and resilience at the end of the study; negative emotions had weak (or no) effects and didn’t even have the power to take away from the benefits of the good feelings.

“Getting those daily reports helped us gather more accurate recollections of feelings and allowed us to capture emotional ups and downs,” explains study author Barbara Fredrickson, a leading expert in the area of positive psychology and professor at the College of Arts and Sciences for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rather than asking subjects questions about how much joy they’d experienced, the reports allowed researchers to get a more real worldview of daily variations in feelings.

But before you dismiss all this positive, uplifting thinking as impossible and unrealistic, recognize that the research isn’t calling for you to deny the stressful, upsetting aspects of your life. Or always be looking for that silver lining.

Instead all you need do is put a bit of your focus on what the experts call “micro-moments”, those little things that bring you a good feeling for a moment or two.

Continues below…


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Stop And Savor Those Happy Moments Continued

The team of researchers found that experiencing average or stable levels of those feel-good emotions gave subjects the ability to handle challenges, even when negative emotions were involved.

“A lot of times we get so wrapped up in thinking about the future and the past that we are blind to the goodness we are steeped in already, whether it’s the beauty outside the window or the kind things that people are doing for you,” Fredrickson points out. “The better approach is to be open and flexible, to be appreciative of whatever good you do find in your daily circumstances, rather than focusing on bigger questions.”

The researchers are convinced that happy people are more satisfied with life not just because of their positive outlook – these individuals also have more internal resources for dealing with tough times and setbacks.

Fredrickson concludes, “This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go.” Do that and you’ll improve your emotional strength.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Swine Flu Vaccination Taking Longer Than Expected

Vaccine making is not an easy process.

Each February experts make a decision about what type of flu vaccine to produce for the upcoming season and as you might imagine, this year’s outbreak of A (H1N1) and the production of a swine flu vaccination has disrupted that schedule a bit.

And while seasonal flu vaccine is still being made, it’s hard for the current vaccine producing system to shift gears fast enough, and the technology being used isn’t as modern as we might like.

While the first trial vaccines are expected within a few weeks, it may not be until the end of this year that a fully tested swine flu vaccine is ready according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

An already difficult vaccine production process is made worse by the swine flu viruses being used to develop the vaccine.

It seems they’re only offering half as much “yield” in egg-based production (most of today’s vaccine is made this way) as what manufacturer’s get when creating vaccine for the seasonal flu virus.

U.S. health officials are said to be considering a swine flu immunization program that involves an astonishing 600 million doses. Who will administer the vaccine, and how side effects will be tracked has yet to be determined.

The good news is that swine flu, known officially as A (H1N1), remains a relatively mild illness and the vast majority of patients continue to recover quickly.

The virus is still susceptible to antiviral drugs, including Tamiflu, which makes these medicines ideal as a treatment option for infected patients.

On the down side, research does suggest that A (H1N1) causes more lung damage than the seasonal flu strain.

It’s also important to know that this A (H1N1) strain is able to take the life of the young and previously healthy.

In fact, almost half of those who’ve died worldwide have been just that. By contrast, the seasonal flu is usually most deadly to the very young or the very old.

In a piece on the A (H1N1) flu appearing in the journal Nature, University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka and colleagues took virus samples from patients infected with the A (H1N1) swine flu and looked at how they affected different animals.

In mice, ferrets and monkeys, the A (H1N1) swine flu virus brought on lung conditions that were more severe than seen in the seasonal flu. Researchers think this might explain why A (H1N1) has caused some serious cases of pneumonia in those who were otherwise healthy.

The A (H1N1) swine flu arrived in the U.S. in the middle of April, and estimates have about one million Americans being infected though there are far fewer “confirmed” cases.

There continue to be deaths from the illness.

The Wisconsin researchers also found that A (H1N1) is closely related to the viruses that were behind the devastating 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic. In fact, antibodies taken from those born before 1920 recognize the current swine flu virus, not so for those born after 1920.

What worries health officials today is that the virus we know now might mutate into a more virulent and dangerous illness.

Continues below…


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Swine Flu Vaccine Taking Longer Than Expected Continued

While we continue to wait for a vaccine to arrive, it’s important to look back at the last large-scale government-backed swine flu vaccination campaign in 1976. In hindsight a program that earned mixed reviews.

It was an incredible mobilization of the nations health care system, though a miserable failure after a paralyzing nerve disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome struck 500 (and killed 30) of those who’d been vaccinated.

It wasn’t until December 1976 that federal officials canceled the program, though not before 40 million Americans were inoculated against a pandemic that in the end never materialized.

Perhaps the lessons learned from this, as well as the WHO decree that before a country can start a large-scale swine flu vaccination program the vaccines used need to be checked for safety by regulators, will help future efforts improve on past ones.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor