Risk Factor Of Diabetes Includes Red and Processed Meats

As if red meats didn’t have enough bad press, having been linked to heart disease and some cancers… here’s some more which names them as a risk factor of diabetes.

Red meats, particularly the processed varieties such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs might actually raise your risks of developing type 2 diabetes according to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Not surprisingly, the team saw that the more red meat you ate, the larger the risk for disease.

Type 2 diabetes affects over 25 million Americans and has long been associated with carrying too much weight, and is a disease where the body can’t produce enough insulin, or the body cells don’t use the insulin they get properly.

Insulin works to assist the body in using glucose (also known as blood sugar) for energy. When blood sugar stays high as it does with diabetes, problems like heart disease, blindness as well as kidney and nerve damage can be the result. This is why it is so important to identify diabetes and follow whatever treatment plan you and your doctor have created.

In the most recent study, subjects who ate a single 3.5 ounce serving (about the size of a deck of playing cards) of non processed red meat (hamburger, steak) a day were almost 20% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Those who ate half this amount, but of processed meat (hot dog, 2 slices of bacon, bologna or salami) had a 51% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

The research included information on 37,063 men participating in the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, 79,570 women who were taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study I and another 87,504 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. As part of the current study, the team also conducted a literature review analysis that included data from the most recent research and earlier projects.

Even though the amount of meat intake isn’t very large, the risk associated with it is rather high according to Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD a professor at Harvard School of Public Health. The findings of this research are important considering the epidemic of diabetes and the ever-increasing consumption of red meat by most people.

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Warning: Red And Processed Meats Linked To Diabetes Risk… Continued…

Just how red meats might impact the risk of diabetes is unknown. It might be that the processed meats high nitrate content ups the risk of insulin resistance. This is a pre-diabetic condition that happens when the body cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. What’s more, processed meats have high amounts of iron, and high stores of iron in the body have also been linked to a higher risk of diabetes.

The team suggests people keep their intake of processed and red meats as low as possible. Try not to make the meat the center of your plate and instead load up on healthier sources of protein like nuts, low fat dairy (yogurt), whole grains, chicken and fish.

It’s clear that processed meats are much more dangerous than the unprocessed variety, though these are by no means harmless. It’s important therefore that your diet changes from a red meat focused way of eating to a more diverse, protein based eating plan.

The meat industry, represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and registered dietitian Shalene McNeill, disputes the research findings – stating they’re suggestive of an association but not proof of cause and effect. She insists there is a large body of research that shows lean beef is an important part of a healthy diet, and that the most important advice for cutting the risk of type 2 diabetes is to keep your weight under control. Be active and follow a diet that is in line with established Dietary Guidelines.

Experts continue to recommend that the best eating plan for those with a risk factor of diabetes is personalized, with saturated fats less than 7% of your total daily calories. And while no one can say for sure that cutting out the red or processed meats, for sure, will be of benefit, it’s something to consider along with the other changes you’re making to keep your body healthy and your risk of disease at bay.

Daily Exercise Workout Of Just 15 Mins Is All Thats Needed

What great news! You can actually reduce your risk of death by doing a daily exercise workout for just 15 minutes a day according to some encouraging new research appearing in The Lancet.

The research found that if sedentary people upped their activity by just this much each day they could cut their risk of death rather dramatically and increase their life expectancy in the order of years.

There’s not an organization out there that doesn’t see the benefits of being active, with an almost universal call for healthy adults to engage in 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week. Until this study there had been no clear indication if less than this amount could be of benefit.

The research included more than 400,000 who were taking part in a standard medical screening program in Taiwan from 1996 to 2008. The average follow up for participants was 8 years.

Depending on how much exercise the subjects said they got, they were put into one of five groups – inactive, low, medium, high or very high. The team calculated hazard ratios for death risk for all groups compared to the inactive group while also calculating the life expectancy for each of the groups.

Compared to those in the inactive group, the low exercisers (exercising about 92 minutes/week) had a 14% lower risk of death, a 10% lower risk of dying of cancer and on average had an additional life expectancy of 3 years.

Every added 15-minute period of exercise a day brought the death risk down by another 4%, and cancer death by another 1%. These benefits held for all ages and both sexes. They also held for those with heart disease risk factors.

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Just 15 Minutes Of Exercise A Day Cuts Risk Of Death… Continued…

The study authors feel sure that if people could stick to the minimum 90 minutes per week they are recommending, death from heart disease, diabetes and even cancer could be brought down significantly. Lives could be saved. And all with such a small amount of time, a low, easy volume of activity may have quite an impact.

Other experts agree that if people understood how little activity it really takes to benefit them, many more would make the effort to get up and get moving.

The good news is that no matter what activity you choose, by doing it regularly you’re on the way to better health and wellness.

Exercise does so much for you… burns fat, builds muscle, brings down dangerous cholesterol… even helps manage stress and improves your sleep. Surprising then that so many of us are sitting and not being active.

For some, like the American College of Sports Medicine’s Michael R. Bracko, EdD, FACSM, exercise is the magic potion we’ve all been waiting for. It can literally cure diseases (heart disease), prevent others (some cancers), helps with chronic conditions (like arthritis) and can even assist in preventing or reversing mood disorders (depression).

Plus, let’s not forget that a regular daily exercise workout helps you lose weight and look more fit and toned. But that’s just a bonus.

Diagnosis Of Celiac Disease Increasing

Interesting finding on an increasingly common ailment, the diagnosis of celiac disease. Today more and more people are getting sick from being exposed to products that have gluten — one recent study finds that nearly five times as many patients have celiac disease today as in the 1950s.

Another report points out that the rate of celiac disease has doubled every 15 years from 1974. Today estimates have one in every 133 U.S. residents being impacted by this disease.

Once experts had suspected regional differences in disease rates, but now they see celiac disease everywhere according to Dr. Alessio Fasano who is director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Researchers are trying to figure out what’s going on.

Why the increase?

There are lots of theories, some related to each other, and not all of them based on facts according to Fasano.

We know that celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your own immune system to attack the small intestine. The attack is prompted by exposure to gluten, which is a protein that can be found in grains like wheat, rye and barley.

The condition obviously will interfere with proper digestion, and in children can bring symptoms like bloating, diarrhea or constipation and vomiting.

Adults who have this condition don’t often show symptoms, but have problems like anemia, fatigue, osteoporosis or arthritis due to the body not getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Our awareness of celiac disease has grown too. Now there are gluten free foods at the grocery store, good news for patients since the only treatment for the condition is a gluten free diet. But it’s not just people being more aware of symptoms, or diagnosis being better that explains the rise in the numbers.

The most popular theory suggests that improvements in sanitation and hygiene that are a result of progress may be at fault. All of us are simply more at risk for celiac disease because our bodies haven’t had to fight off as many organisms as they had to in the past.

Being so clean as a society has possibly made our immune systems weaker, less developed than they ought to be… than they were in the past.

Another theory along these same lines is that our super clean society has brought a fundamental change in the bacteria normally found in the digestive system. Lending credence to this thinking is that the increase in celiac disease happens most in industrialized nations, where things are kept cleaner… where antibiotics are abused, our hands are washed too often and we’re vaccinated frequently.

Other potential explanations?

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U.S. Sees Dramatic Rise In Celiac Disease… Continued…

- More gluten in the grains we eat today, gluten levels are much higher than even 70 or 80 years ago

- Kids being exposed to gluten at an early age, introducing grains to the diet too soon can cause those at risk for celiac disease to be more likely to get it

- Fewer women breastfeeding their babies, which may protect against celiac disease.

It’s possible that all these may play a part, or that in some people one factor is more important than the others.

About 30% of the population carries genes that make them susceptible to the disease. And while many adults remain symptomless, research has shown that the earlier those with the disease get treatment, the better able they are to hold off the more debilitating effects of celiac disease.

Experts warn that if you suspect celiac disease, do not go gluten free without being tested first. If you do so, you’ll be interfering with the accuracy of any diagnosis of celiac disease done later on, and since this disease is difficult to diagnose (symptoms are similar to other diseases), you’ll want to have every advantage when it comes to diagnosis. So don’t change your diet before you’re screened, but if you are at risk (or think you are) get to your doctor and get tested.

Obesity Risks Increase Over Time

Here’s a wake up call for those of us carrying too much weight. When it comes to weight gain, calculation of obesity risks to your health has focused on the severity of the weight gain on its own, but paid no attention to how long that weight had been hanging around.

Some compelling new research finds that every added decade of being obese more than doubles your death risk. Just like pack years for a smoker, work that appears in the International Journal of Epidemiology calls for the “obese year” to become part of any assessment of health for a patient.

Researcher Dr. Asnawi Abdullah out of Australia’s Monash University believes that the health toll of all those extra pounds is far higher than we know because estimates haven’t factored in the duration of a person’s obesity.

Today the obesity epidemic has gotten tremendous press. Sadly, there are all too many of us who fall on the high side of the BMI scale… over 25.0.

In the U.S., a full third of adults belong to the obese category. In the U.K. the number is a quarter of adults – still significant to be sure and predicted to rise.

What’s worse, if the current trends continue, obesity will become a prominent health problem for more and more of us the world over.

Work by Abdulla and her team found that the duration of obesity has a direct impact on death risk. And this is independent of other factors like age or just how heavy a person is.

The team examined the health of 5,036 patients who lived in the U.S. who were enrolled in the Framingham Cohort Study that tracked their health every two years over many decades.

Among the subjects, death risk rose by 7% for every added two years of being obese. Being at this weight for between 15 and 25 years more than doubled the death risk, compared to those who were never obese.

Death risk tripled for those who were obese for longer than 25 years. Now you see why researchers are so concerned… the risk of death for those currently obese might be so much higher than any other time in history.

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Experts: Doctors Should Start Tracking “Obese Years”… Continued…

What’s more, people are falling into the obese categories at younger and younger ages, which means that kids today might actually expect a shorter lifespan than past generations.

The onset of obesity is often 10 years earlier than in the past.

The team of researchers suggests that the number of years you’ve been obese needs to be considered when doing an assessment of overall health.

If your doctor can tell you the consequences of your extra weight, in terms of how shortened your life will be, this might be enough to get some people on the road to weight loss.

But scare tactics don’t work for everyone. If they did, losing weight wouldn’t be such a struggle for so many. The truth is, losing weight isn’t quick… or easy… but it can be done by making small, manageable changes and sticking with them over the long haul.

It’s also important to understand that weight loss, at any age, will do wonders to help reverse obesity risks, extend your life and leave you with less risk of dangerous, life altering disease.

Best Diet To Control Cholesterol

We know using diet to control cholesterol plays a big role in managing levels successfully… now here’s news on just what you need to be eating.

Cholesterol lowering choices like soy, nuts and plant sterols might be better at bringing down cholesterol than the traditional low fat eating plan.

This comes from a brand new study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that those with high cholesterol who followed what’s been termed the portfolio diet (a selection of cholesterol lowering foods) brought down their low density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) by almost 13% after 6 months on the diet. This compares to a 3% drop in LDL for those who stuck to a diet low in saturated fats.

We know that as those cholesterol numbers go up, so does the risk of dangerous disease, especially heart disease. Experts used to think that most of us couldn’t alter our cholesterol numbers with diet alone, but that belief is changing quickly.

When it comes to the portfolio diet, experts suggest you think of the eating plan not as a “diet” but rather more like an investment in cholesterol lowering foods. Just like you wouldn’t put all your savings in one stock, don’t bet your health on a single healthy food – choose lots of good for you options.

The researchers took a look at the portfolio diet and compared it to the traditional low fat eating plan in 351 subjects who had high cholesterol.

The participants were randomly divided into three groups, the first got two sessions of counseling on the portfolio diet, a second group had a more intensive 7 sessions of counseling, and the third followed the traditional low fat diet.

Both the regular and intensive counseled portfolio diet groups saw a drop in LDL cholesterol of almost 13%, as compared to a mere 3% reduction in the subjects following the low fat diet.

Since heart disease is such a well-known killer, experts like researcher David Jenkins, MD from the University of Toronto believe that many people can benefit by adopting this eating plan.

If you’re being urged to start on a statin drug by your doctor, it may be even more important for you to give this eating plan a try first – giving you a chance to avoid a prescription medication (and it’s side effects) and work with nature to help the body stay well.

Research has shown that adding plant-based foods to the diet can give you very nearly the same drop in bad cholesterol, as you’d achieve with a prescription medicine.

What’s also interesting about the study is that one counseling session every three months was almost as effective as going every month for counseling. The fact that the results came after so few sessions is surprising… and encouraging.

So just what is the portfolio diet?

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Revealed: Top Diet For Lowering Cholesterol… Continued…

It’s an eating plan made up for four types of foods that have been recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as having an ability to bring down cholesterol levels. The four are…

1. Soy protein - substitute soy based meat products for the real thing… try soy burgers, soy hot dogs or soy cold cuts. Soy milk and soy beans (also known as edamame) are other good choices.

2. Sticky fiber - oats, barley and psyllium, three servings per day, or choose veggies like eggplant (aubergine) and okra.

3. Plant sterol esters - instead of butter or margarine, use plant sterol ester-enriched margarine. Brands in the U.S. are Benecol and Take Control. You can also get these nutrients in capsules as a dietary supplement

4. Nuts - tree nuts like almonds or walnuts, even peanuts, are also part of the plan. Just a handful a day will do.

Moving forward, researchers will need to see if the cholesterol drops are maintained after the six-month mark. It will also be important to see if people can stick with the plan… keep their motivation up… over the long term.

The positive thing about the portfolio diet to control cholesterol is that it focuses on bringing things into the diet, not removing things. This may just be why dieticians see this way of eating as more easily accepted.

10 Ways to Improve Fingernail Health And Overall Health

Did you know that your nails are a good measure of your internal health? Caring for both fingers and feet and seeing a dermatologist when needed, can be a huge help when it comes to improving fingernail health, and protecting your overall health as well.

This is the thinking of dermatologists speaking in New York this summer at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting.

To care for your nails the safe way…

1. Keep your nails clean and dry and use an antifungal foot powder each day.

2. Don’t bite your nails… as this spreads infectious organisms between your mouth and fingers. This can also do damage to the skin around the nail, allowing bacteria to get inside.

3. Cut your nails (fingers and toes) straight across, slightly rounded at the center. This keeps nails stronger and avoids ingrown nails.

4. Wear shoes that fit and don’t try to self-treat an ingrown toenail.

5. Be aware of the sterilization procedures at your nail salon. Be sure that tools and surfaces are properly sterilized and technicians follow proper hand washing techniques between clients. Fungal infections are a risk; especially for younger salon patrons as nail salon parties are popular with preteen and teen girls.

6. Consider shellac rather than traditional nail polishes, as this is the same type of material that’s used in dental sealants. You can get these products in many colors, have glitter and foil added to create a cool, durable manicure. What’s more shellac appears to help prevent brittle nails by reinforcing the nail and encouraging hydration. No wonder this option is quickly replacing nail polish in many salons.

7. If you have itching, burning or another allergic type reaction to any nail product, see a dermatologist at once, and discontinue using this product.

8. Take biotin supplements, 2.5 milligrams of this B vitamin supplement a day will help your nails get stronger.

9. Wear gloves for work in the yard, in water and doing regular household chores. Gloves protect your nails from being softened by water, or being exposed to harsh cleaners and brisk scrubbing.

10. Don’t let anyone buff or sand the surface of your nail as this thins (weakens) the nail bed. And don’t let anyone cut or push back your cuticles, as this allows organisms like fungi or bacteria an entry into the body.

How fast your nails grow depends on many things – your age, the time of year (summer is faster than winter), how active you are and your genetics. Nails grow faster on your fingers than on your toes, especially on your dominant hand. Some of the things that impact how fast your nails grow are medications, trauma to the nails, chronic illness or disease, fever, nutritional deficiencies or other diseases. Nail problems, like many things, are more common as you get older.

Here are some things to watch for in terms of keeping your nails healthy and looking their best…

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Smart Ways To Improved Nail And Overall Health… Continued…

- Redness, swelling and pain can signal an infection or some other serious medical problem.

- A dark line or mole under a nail, often mistaken as an injury, can suggest melanoma, have a dermatologist take a look at this area as soon as you can.

- Lines, ripples and pitting of the nail can be a symptom of psoriasis or another type of inflammatory condition.

- Blueness in nails can be a sign of lung infections, diabetes or another type of circulatory problem.

- Splitting, yellow and brittle nails can signal a fungal infection or possible thyroid disease.

- Nails that are white at the bed with a darker circle around the whiteness might suggest liver disease.

Experts suggest that if something doesn’t look right with your fingernail health, you should see a doctor. This will either get you the treatment you need right away, or set your mind at rest that nothing is wrong.

Lower Breast Cancer Risk With These Grocery Items

More news on diet and breast cancer risk. A pair of studies appearing in the journals Cancer Prevention Research on veggies, and Breast Cancer Research on coffee have brought attention to some previously overlooked superfoods that might actually help lower breast cancer risk.

Both research projects examined freely made lifestyle choices of women when it comes to drinking coffee and eating certain vegetables and the impact these choices might have on future breast cancer risk.

The study on vegetables was conducted by a team at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine and used lab rats to see whether or not a specific compound (apigenin) when introduced into the rat’s body, impacted the formation of tumors compared to rats who were not given the substance.

Apigenin is naturally part of foods like parsley, apples, celery, oranges and some nuts, as well as other foods, and appears not just to slow the development of tumors but it also reduced the number of tumors in the body. Keeping some minimum levels of apigenin in the blood seems to be beneficial in terms of breast cancer risk reduction.

So next time you see a garnish of celery or parsley, it might be a good idea to have a taste.

The study on coffee took place in Sweden and was conducted by a team working through the Karolinska Institute. The age range of the women was 50 to 74 years old and they were studied in two groups, one with breast cancer, and the other without.

Participants were matched for age, and the team saw that those who regularly drank 5 or more cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of estrogen receptor negative breast cancers. Other studies have brought similar results.

Here are some other interesting numbers that come from the two studies…

- 1 in 8 is the number of women who will have breast cancer in their lifetime.

- 30 is the BMI number where women are considered to be obese, which is a recognized risk factor that’s identified by the coffee study and many other studies as increasing your breast cancer risk.

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Certain Grocery Items Linked To Lower Risk Of Some Breast Cancers… Continued…

- 45% of premenopausal women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have the estrogen receptor negative form of the disease; this was the form of disease examined in the coffee study.

- 51 is the average age that a U.S. woman will go through menopause. Those working on the coffee study suggest that the age a woman hits menopause as another key factor in breast cancer risk.

- 200,000+ is the number of women in the U.S. who are diagnosed with breast cancer

- 6 to 10 million
is the number of women prescribed hormone replacement therapy each year in the U.S. The study on veggies was looking at ways to cut the risk of breast cancer associated with these medications.

Talk with your doctor about how to lower breast cancer risk, and be aware that preventing disease is always easier than treating it once it happens. The good thing to take from these two studies is that there are things you can do, actions you can take, to defend yourself against breast cancer. It’s up to you.

Effects Of Smoking To Health Include Shrinking Brain

Important news on lifestyle factors and brain health. A new study in the journal Neurology, suggests that allowing your weight to be out of control in middle age and the effects of smoking to health may actually shrink your brain… bringing on mental decline a mere ten years later.

Researchers have always hypothesized such risk factors could impact brain health, but to have a study that proves it adds more weight to recommendations to live a healthy lifestyle all through life.

And while there’s no stopping the aging process, by doing what you can to keep your body healthy during midlife plays an important part in holding onto a healthy mind as the years pass.

The researchers out of the University of California Davis examined data on 1,352 subjects who were taking part in the Framingham Offspring Study… a generally health conscious lot.

Participants were 54 years old, on average, and were given tests of blood pressure, cholesterol and for diabetes, as well as measuring body mass index and waist circumference. MRI brain scans were taken over the course of ten years, the first about 7 years after the initial risk factor assessment.

Anyone with stroke or dementia was excluded at the start of the study, and during the time of the first and last MRIs, 19 of the participants had a stroke, two developed dementia.

The team saw that factors like smoking, high blood pressure, having diabetes and being too heavy were each associated with dangerous vascular changes in the brain.

- Those who had high blood pressure saw a faster drop in test scores on planning and decision-making, and this corresponds to a faster rate of growth of tiny areas of vascular brain damage, than those who had normal blood pressure readings.

- Participants who had diabetes at midlife saw a loss in brain size in a part of the brain called the hippocampus that was faster than those who didn’t have diabetes.

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Warning: 3 Things That Can Shrink Your Brain… Continued…

- Smokers lost brain volume in the hippocampus, as well as showing an overall decrease in size, with a faster increase in those areas of vascular brain damage than those who did not smoke.

- Subjects who were at obese at midlife were more likely to be in the top 25% of those who showed faster declines in tests on executive function. Having a high waist to hip ratio also made subjects more likely to be part of the 25% who had a faster drop in brain volume.

The effects of the risk factors studied are likely to be more compelling in the larger population, since the study subjects were mostly healthy people who had normal blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as having a lower risk of diabetes. The group of subjects certainly aren’t a good representation of the general population considering the growing obesity epidemic in this country, as well as the numbers of those with high blood pressure/cholesterol readings.

So now we have solid data that shows there are things you can do… stopping smoking to reduce the effects of smoking to health, watching your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers as well as eating right and exercising in an effort to avoid diabetes… in order to keep both body and mind sound as the years pass. All this boils down to keeping your weight under control, which is no easy task to be sure, but one certainly worth the effort considering what it can do for your brain health over the long term.

Reasons For Gout Increasing

Gout, once the “disease of kings”, has become more common in the United States over the last 20 years. No surprise really when you consider the some of the reasons for gout increasing is the raging obesity epidemic in this country, and the numbers who have high blood pressure.

More common in men than women, gout is a type of arthritis that happens because of an overload of uric acid in the body that leads to the formation of crystals in the joints.

Gout affects almost 8.3 million people, bringing redness, swelling, warmth, inflammation and intense pain.

Beyond the numbers with gout, increased uric acid levels in the blood have gone up over the last 20 years, with almost 43.3 million U.S. adults at these levels. This might not doom these people to an attack of gout, because having too much uric acid in the body isn’t the problem. It’s when those levels prompt the formation of hard crystals in the joints that the trouble starts.

The researchers report that the frequency of gout in the U.S. has more than doubled from levels in the 1960s… just as the numbers who are considered overweight or obese have risen during these years.

To understand more about gout trends, the team of researchers looked at data from the most recent (2007-08) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that included 5,707 adults, comparing this data to results from the same survey completed back in 1988-1994.

Current participants were asked about, among other things, their history of gout and if a health care provider had diagnosed this condition. Compared to the 1988-94 data, gout levels were 1% higher and the frequency of higher uric acid levels in the blood was up 3%. Further analysis found that gout was highest in men (8%) than women (2%).

There is medical evidence that gout is associated with troublesome metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, blood fat issues, obesity that might also impact the risk of both diabetes and heart attack.

Like most conditions, gout risk goes up as you get older.

When it comes to prevention, like most diseases there are some factors you can control (diet, exercise, fluid intake) and some you can’t (family history).

Continues below…

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Gout Increasing: Now Affects 4% Of Americans – Are You At Risk..? Continued…

Men in particular should limit intake of alcohol (especially beer), fats and foods rich in purines that are known to up those uric acid levels (meat, sardines, bacon, mussels, yeast), especially if they have a family history of this condition. These patients, more than any other, can benefit from keeping their weight under control.

Studies show that losing weight improves your chances of reducing attacks of gout and perhaps even eliminating them altogether. And that’s just the beginning of what weight loss can do for you.

Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, is also recommended for those with gout to dilute uric acid and help your joints function better.

You should start with 8 glasses a day, and check your urine color for clues to your hydration status – light yellow or clear is a sign of good hydration, darker yellow means you need to be drinking more. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of fluids, every day.

With advances in research on gout, there are blood/urine tests that can help warn of a potential attack, and medications that can also be used to keep an attack at bay. Pain medications are better and more effective than ever. And we know that there are lifestyle facts, most especially diet, that can help keep the reasons for gout under control. No longer such a mystery, today the disease of kings can at last be managed successfully.

Control Food Cravings By Retraining Your Brain

Cravings are all too familiar to most of us… that urgent, insistent voice that tempts us to forget our healthy eating intentions and indulge. Susan Roberts, a nutritionist at Tufts University who runs a program that helps people control food cravings believes there’s a biological reason behind our cravings for sweets, and even better, that this instinct can be un-learned.

Think about this… for much of our history, food was not nearly as plentiful as it is today. Once you really had to work hard to get what you ate – grow it or gather it or hunt it; today you can get calorie laden foods on every street corner… overloaded plates in any restaurant.

The tTrouble is, our brains haven’t quite adjusted to all the abundance of our modern world… long held instincts to survive famine have taught our brains to pick up on signs that high sources of calories are nearby. This may be why the cake on the desert cart is so irresistible… the morning breakfast place calling your name as you draw near.

Cravings go beyond our natural need to eat for survival. In fact, often hunger doesn’t even play a part in a craving, instead science considers them a complex cocktail of body, brain and chemical components that have us doing whatever we can to satisfy them. Not so much different from how a drug addict or alcoholic must feel about his/her substance of choice.

There’s also evidence that while some cravings are inborn, others come from the foods we eat in large amounts. Surround yourself with tasty goodies and that’s what you’ll crave. Proving the point, about a third of study subjects who were give a daily vanilla drink that was low in saturated fat, began to crave the drink after just two weeks, even though it was chalky and none too tasty.

Japanese research also shows our cravings are influenced by what’s around us. A study from Tohoku University found that many Japanese women crave sushi, demonstrating that the cravings for some foods might be influenced by the food traditions in a particular culture.

While you can’t prevent cravings from coming on… you can do something to put them in their place. Here are six smart suggestions…

1. Clean out your cabinets - remove all signs of your treat of choice from the house, and if you have to have it for some special occasion, get rid of what remains quickly.

2. Carry healthy foods with you - so that if a craving hits, you’ll be ready. Apples, bananas and oranges are easy to transport fruits; or consider a bag of high fiber cereal you can keep in the car.

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Six Simple Secrets To Conquer Food Cravings… Continued…

3. Have 100 calories worth of what you crave in the middle of a meal – eat a treat at the beginning of a meal and the brain gets the message that a craved food is associated with being satisfied and happy; eating treats at the end of the meal and the brain remembers the food as the last good thing you tasted. The sandwich technique avoids both of these, and limits just how much you do take in.

4. Limit your TV viewing - all those hours each week in front of the TV also leave us subjected to lots of TV commercials… often for tasty snack foods and other treats. This fuels cravings. If you don’t want to limit your TV watching, at least get up and out of the room during the commercials.

5. Eat regularly – that is three healthy, balanced meals a day (including a fiber and protein rich breakfast), plus healthy snacks, so that you never go more than three hours without food. This way your appetite won’t have a chance to get out of control.

6. Stay hydrated – as water keeps your stomach full and acts like a natural appetite suppressant and helps your body metabolize stored fat. By staying hydrated you keep symptoms like false cravings and hunger from taking over.

The good news for those wanting to control food cravings is that the victory, once you’ve achieved it, is total. It seems that when people give up the foods they crave, the treat in question becomes very unappealing after a time. Maybe it’s the sensation of the greasy food… the overpowering taste of a single ingredient or the intensity of the sweetness that starts to become repulsive.