Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Wash Those Hands, Honey!
Bird flu and mad cow may be glamorously scary, but what should be making more headlines is the newest, ugliest superbug crawling around gyms, daycares and door handles. Fortunately, it’s easy to stop if you wash your hands after hanging around public places. Clickativity.
2) What’s that? You Frolicked in Acid?
Speak up, would ya! Folic acid is good for your ears. We’re impressed with this nice little study, which was long-term, placebo-controlled, and looked at both men and women. Very well done, Annals, very well done. And well done is actually quite…rare. (Come on, you know you’re smiling.)
Check out a great way to get folic acid here.
3) Harvard Doesn’t Like Uncle Sam’s Food Pyramid, Either
Harvard has released an alternative food pyramid and nutrition guide. It’s a really great way to spend 16 bucks because, although the US pyramid is both free and pretty, the Harvard version flat-out rocks. Harvard oh-so-politely counters the so-called “balanced diet” approach as being totally meaningless (which it is). Seriously, are things like “try to eat more whole grains” and “avoid fat” the best recommendations our government can come up with? Evidently so. (Although the FDA does have that nifty new Labelman tutorial online to help you understand nutrition labels and feel like a five-year-old simultaneously.)
Instead, with the Harvard guide, specific foods are recommended. How cool is that? Things like good fats (because they lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol), veggies rich in antioxidants (because they may prevent cancer and they fight inflammation and stress), and lots of lean protein. Yum!
In fact, Harvard makes a very convincing case that a high-protein diet is not only safe for the cardiovascular-concerned crowd, but that sensible high-protein diets (no baconfests, people) are actually better for the heart than bran muffins and bread machines. Which is what Mark has been espousing all along – pretty interesting stuff!
We really recommend purchasing the guide if you can. Kudos to Harvard for having the gumption to address real nutrition with real science and real recommendations. Although, colorful stripes are fun. We’re very impressed with the FDA for staying inside the lines so well.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Calm Cows
It’s all over the news: Scientists have invented a cow that may be immune to mad cow disease. Yes, that’s right – a whole cow. Not a drug, or a food, or a shot, but an actual breed of cow that is immune to getting a disease caused by…oh yeah: irresponsible, filthy factory food production. Of course, since our government still insists there is absolutely no cause to worry about killer burgers, we suppose this techie fix is just for kicks – you know, just in case. Hey, it’s always good to have an extra species of bovine on the shelf for those rainy day public health disasters. Why mop the slimy slaughterhouse floor when you can just make a new cow that won’t be affected by said slime? Hooray, technology!
If you’re interested in the dark underbelly of the mad cow conspiracy (we’re staying neutral for now…but boy, are they persuasive), visit our favorite little conspiracy site maintained by a gaggle of rogue journalists who probably eat tofu and have really messy hair. If you’re interested in the government’s take, visit the FDA. If you haven’t seen the news piece, here’s the clickativity. And we promise, no more cow pictures for a while.
Beneath the calm exterior…
2) Yeah, yeah, have a drink…
Yet another study reveals that one or two drinks a day may not be so bad for the heart – and now, it appears, for the old blood pressure. This is a debate that will probably never go away, and the fact that this large-scale (11,000: pretty good) survey (kind of lame by scientific standards) found a glass or two of Grandpa’s cough syrup is good for middle-aged men isn’t the worst news on earth, now is it? Of course, women should stick to one drink (in general).
However, keep in mind that:
a) A little sip is good, a little more is bad. Anything more than one or two drinks and you’re in the boiling-point blood pressure range, and,
b) while beer may – may – help raise good cholesterol a bump or two, so will a good multivitamin, a few weekly servings of lean fish, and daily use of olive oil or Smart Butter. We’re just sayin’.
Although, this does look good…
As mentioned yesterday, the national health report card has just been released by the NIH. My fellow Americans, we did not make the honor roll. We are not number one. (Though there’s a roll, all right.)
Here’s how America scored in some major subjects:
Heart disease: 685,000 deaths (down about 10% from 1980)
Cancer/tumors: 556,000 deaths (up about 35% from 1980)
Diabetes: 74,000 deaths (triple the 1980 rate)
Things that killed people in 1980 – like cirrhosis, accidents and the flu, are way down. But preventable diseases like diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular conditions are way up.
– Obesity is up – a lot. In the 1960s, that rate was about 44%; it’s now over 66%. Click here for the kid stats.
– You might be surprised: heart disease killed more women last year than men. Take care of those arteries, ladies!
– Also worth considering: the millions of deaths, bad reactions and side effects of drugs used to treat all these conditions. Can’t we do better?
What all this means:
It’s tempting to feel a little pessimistic, but a lot of this news is actually good. That’s right, good!
We don’t have to worry too much about clean water or adequate food or – even with the big mess health care is in right now – access to a doctor. There’s a lot to fix in this country, but the good news is that we’re blessed with a lot of options and advantages.
Most of the diseases and health issues facing Americans are things that are preventable with a few basic lifestyle changes: things like eating less, cutting out sugar, eating more vegetables every day, quitting smoking, getting exercise, taking supplements that limit free radical damage, and avoiding stress.
While these things are challenges and there are a lot of choices to weigh, the important thing is that we have choice. That, in itself, is a blessing.
So, choose to be healthy! Health, to the extent you can control it, is nothing more than good choices (because you can’t help genetics or luck). So always be making a better one.
[tags] American health statistics, national health, country comparisons, National Institutes of Health, NIH, major causes of death, most common health problems [/tags]
THE LATEST PLAY IN THE STATISTICS GAME We’ve all seen the ads touting dairy as a weight-loss aid. Every granola bar, breakfast cereal and block of cheese now brags about it. Welcome to yet another entertaining quarter in the ongoing Statistics Game. Dairy is a big topic and there are several studies we’re going to take a look at today. And by take a look, I mean tear apart. As far as I’m concerned, “da-iry” hasn’t done anything great with the place (though the ad campaigns are always cute). The aliens can have it. We’d all be a lot better off without the so-called Wonder Tonic – and we’d lose weight a lot faster. It is true that calcium plays a role in fat metabolism (a small role – more on that in a moment). But it’s also true that calories play a role in getting fat. Reducing calories from any source is going to help you lose weight much more effectively than simply drinking milk instead of, say, soda or juice. For one thing, milk has almost as much sugar as a glass of Coke (yes – check the labels). For another, milk is hardly nature’s perfect food for humans. Cow milk is nature’s perfect food for…cows. I realize that’s controversial, but it’s true. And relying on calcium for your weight-loss goals is like relying on vitamin C-enhanced Seven Up for your antioxidant needs. I love a good slice of cheddar as much as the next guy and gal, but there’s no way any responsible health care practitioner should ever recommend making dairy a part of a healthy diet, much less a weight-loss plan. Hey, if you’re living on potato chips and pizza, a glass of milk might be a step up. I set the bar a little higher, and I hope you do, too. Dairy, in limited amounts, isn’t something I worry too much about. I don’t think it’s an ideal human food, especially since most of us lack the enzyme needed to digest it and essentially force ourselves to become accustomed to the stuff. But you could do worse than the occasional dollop of cottage cheese or scoop of sugar-free yogurt, especially if you favor organic dairy. (Which, by the way, you should: regular dairy is typically full of antibiotics, hormones, and contaminants like pus. Yum.) Enter dubious study #1. Though Major Moo (the dairy industry) paid for six clinical studies – yes, they funded their own studies – the main one is what I’m calling the Tennessee Two Pounder. The University of Tennessee loves Major Moo, and Major Moo loves T. U. The lead researcher in the study was astounded by the amazing benefits of dairy, which he discovered after being paid millions of dollars conducting the study. For a few million, I can be amazed by just about anything, but I still wouldn’t be amazed by the results he got: a mere two pounds on the “it’s not a dairy diet” dairy diet. When this … Continue reading “Dairy: Blunder Tonic”
Avocados are at the tail end of their season right now, so you can scoop up these deliciously fatty treats for a great price. The best part about this rich fruit? The fat is good for you! Especially in winter, when skin is prone to dryness, an extra daily dose of beneficial fatty acids can be all it takes to stay comfortable in your skin.
Slice, score, or mash your avo, drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice, add a dash of kosher salt, and you’ve got yourself a really nutritious snack. Keep in mind that, like nuts, avocados are very high in calories, so enjoy in moderation.
Fuel up with this smart pick before the weekend hits!
[tags] good fats, avocados, low-carb snack, omega-3 [/tags]
WORKER BEES DAILY BITES
Where to start!
Health 2.0 – it’s a term now – is taking off in a big way.
You can be part of it here at MDA! Collaboration, hand-built information, and alternative health news and views – now that’s personalized health care. Check out a health care industry blogger’s take on it by hitting this clickativity.
We’re anti-peanut and not afraid to say it!
Our fellow blogger Dr. Joe Mercola blogs about the latest shenanigans of the food industry. Not even peanuts are safe. Peanuts! But we still like almonds. (Psst…peanuts are full of molds and toxins. Not exactly your best bet for lunch. The government actually allows what’s considered a permissible amount of contamination. Thanks, Uncle Sam. We feel the love.)
You have to wonder when peanut butter companies save you the trouble of using a knife and talk about that like it’s a good thing.
How Healthy Are You, America?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its annual health report. We’ll be getting into some of the 2006 numbers tomorrow. Take a gander now if you’re curious…
Grandma’s Favorite Dish Made Your DNA?
Not only is a mother’s diet during pregnancy important for the health of the child…but so was Grandma’s. A new study reported in Science Daily has discovered that eating habits can have an effect on DNA through several generations. Now, this was a “murine” study – in other words, some squeakers (mice).
So don’t feel too guilty about that year you had a little too much love for chai soy lattes. However, the important message is that genetics and health are more complicated than we’ve previously thought. Makes dinner take on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
[tags] DNA, food, peanut butter, web 2.0 [/tags]