Category Archives: Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic – Gene Therapy – potential and pitfalls

I put gene therapy up there with the technology that makes the GPS in my car work. It reminds me of the wonderful quote from Arthur C. Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Research is advancing gene therapy as a possible treatment or eventual cure for genetic diseases that bedevil modern science. Gene therapy was conceived over 20 years ago, and until recently, remained largely in the research lab. But gene therapy products are now beginning to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical care. Physician-scientists are intrigued with exploring its possibilities for transforming medical practice.

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Gene therapy seeks to target faulty genes that are driving disease and either correct or replace them. Imagine your entire genome as an electric master board that controls physical characteristics and bodily functions. A genomic variant would be the burned out fuse causing disease. Gene therapy would target the defective fuse and either replace it or add a new fuse to get the body functioning correctly.

Mayo’s research

As an example of the potential, David Deyle, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic Department of Clinical Genomics and Center for Individualized Medicine Clinomics Program, is using gene therapy in his research into possible treatments for osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. People with this devastating rare genetic disorder suffer with bones that break easily and often. Caused by a defect in the protein known as collagen, brittle bone disease has no cure. Continue reading

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The Mayo Clinic tells why you should exercise regularly

Regular readers know that I feel very strongly about exercising regularly. Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. So, I was thrilled to receive a Mayo Clinic Newsletter from Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. So many people think about exercise as an adjunct to dieting to lose weight. Wrong. You need to exercise to stay generally healthy and also to maintain a healthy body weight. You don’t stop after you reach your goal weight.

Here’s what the good doctor had to say, “If you exercise regularly, you may lower your risk of a heart attack and stroke. If you are middle-aged or older and haven’t been exercising regularly or have a chronic health problem, work with your doctor to develop an exercise program.

Running at the fitness club

“To condition your heart safely:
Start at a comfortable level of exertion — Try walking five to 10 minutes over a short distance indoors. Increase your time by five minutes a session as you’re able.
Schedule regular exercise — Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day of low- to moderate-intensity physical activity.
Include variety — Combine three types of exercise — stretching (flexibility), endurance (aerobic or cardio) and strengthening (weight training). Start each session with a warm-up of lower intensity, and cool down gradually. Mind-body exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, may provide even greater benefits.
Cross-train to reduce your risk of injury — Alternate among exercises that emphasize different parts of the body, such as swimming, bicycling and walking.
Don’t overdue it — Start slowly and build up gradually, allowing time between sessions for your body to rest and recover. And forget the saying “No pain, no gain.” A little muscle soreness when you do something new isn’t unusual, but soreness doesn’t equal pain. If it hurts, stop doing it.
Increase your physical activity — Even routine activities such as gardening, climbing stairs or washing floors can burn calories and help improve your health. You’ll get the most benefit from a structured exercise program, but any physical movement helps. Walk or bike to the store instead of driving, park farther away at the shopping mall or take the stairs instead of taking an elevator.”

Want more great health information? Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.

Tony

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What about arthritis and surgery? Mayo Clinic

Since I suffer from arthritis in my hands daily, I hope I can be forgiven for being the slightest bit preoccupied with it. I was first diagnosed with it, about 15 years ago. At that time I was given an acrylic splint that I wore on my right hand. It partially immobilized the hand, but gave me a lot of functionality as my hand was stronger as a result. Living with pain is an ongoing and developing experience. I am not sure what will be next.

The Mayo Clinic offered the following in the Special Report of its Health Letter:

“Sometimes, more conservative treatments such as medications and physical therapy aren’t enough to relieve your arthritis signs and symptoms. In these cases, a number of surgical procedures may be considered to relieve pain, slow or prevent cartilage damage or restore mobility and stability. Common surgical procedures include:

“* Arthroscopic debridement – A thin tube (arthroscope) is inserted into the joint area through a small incision to suction away loose fragments of bone, cartilage or synovial tissue that may be causing pain. This is particularly helpful in treating ‘mechanical’ symptoms of arthritis, such as catching or locking.

“* Synovectomy – Often done in rheumatoid arthritis, this involves surgically removing inflamed synovial tissue to reduce pain and swelling, and possibly delaying or preventing- joint destruction.

“* Joint fusion – Often done when joint replacement isn’t an option, permanently fusing a joint in the spine, wrist or ankle or foot can reduce pain and improve stability, although flexibility of that joint is lost.

“* Joint replacement – Hip, knee, elbow and shoulder joints – and less commonly some of the joints of the hands – can all be replaced by artificial joints made of various materials. Advances continue to be made in artificial joint durability and the overall success of these procedures. In some cases, less invasive procedures such as partial knee replacement or hip replacements using smaller incisions are helping reduce recovery time. Modified anesthesia techniques, aggressive post-operative rehabilitation and better postoperative pain management are also contributing to quicker recovery times.”

Anecdotally, my brother had a titanium knee put in several years ago and he was discharged from the hospital the same day. That blew my mind at the time and still does.

The report concludes, “You may not be able to make arthritis pain totally go away or do everything that you once could. But you can make the most of what you can do, which includes fully utilizing the medical therapies available to you, leading a joint-healthy lifestyle and maintaining a positive attitude.”

Tony

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Healthy living = a healthy brain as you age – Mayo Clinic

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. Seems that a healthy lifestyle increases the chances of a healthy brain as we age, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can protect the brain against several risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol and avoiding obesity, smoking and diabetes are among the steps that can help preserve brain health, according to the study, published in JAMA Neurology.

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Neurologists believe two aspects make up Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Amyloid deposits: Toxic proteins that build up plaques on the brain.
  • Neurodegeneration: Loss of structure and function of neurons in the brain.

The Mayo research examined whether the risk factors and protective steps against each differ. Continue reading

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HIIT training can reverse aging processes in adults – Mayo Clinic

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. So, I was thrilled to read this latest from the Mayo Clinic on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but what type of training helps most, especially when you’re older – say over 65? A Mayo Clinic study says it’s high-intensity aerobic exercise, which can reverse some cellular aspects of aging. The findings appear in Cell Metabolism.

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Mayo researchers compared high-intensity interval training, resistance training and combined training. All training types improved lean body mass and insulin sensitivity, but only high-intensity and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle. Decline in mitochondrial content and function are common in older adults. Continue reading

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Mayo Clinic on food fraud – Do you know what you are eating?

Here’s a subject on which I must confess almost total ignorance. The Mayo Clinic blog, however, enumerates a disturbing situation.

Despite of all kinds of regulations and inspections, food fraud exists. Food fraud can defined as the intentional addition of improper or inferior ingredients to a food, often for economic gain.

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Not all food frauds are as easy to spot as this one.

Food fraud has been around throughout history. Highly sought after spices were with filled with ground up seeds; milk was been diluted with water and chalk. The medical journal “The Lancet” reported in 1851 that swindlers were selling tea that was made from elm, oak and beech leaves, and contaminated with lead. Continue reading

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The Power of Touch as Medicine – Mayo Clinic

“Almost everyone has experienced moments in life when grief is so intense that words seem inadequate, or the suffering you witness almost makes you avert your gaze,” says Robert Sheeler, M.D. Medical Editor — Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

“It can be tempting to physically and emotionally withdraw from painful situations, such as when a friend’s partner dies or your relative faces a terminal illness. You want to guard your own emotions, or you fear being perceived as inappropriate or invading another’s personal space.

Massaging-Hands-Med
“While these concerns can be valid, such an approach risks loneliness and isolation for all those involved. Multiple studies have shown that feeling isolated from others has a number of negative health effects, including accelerated aging, depression, cognitive decline and increased risk of heart disease.

“The role of companionship under difficult circumstances need not be as complicated as you might think. In fact, it can be as simple as holding a hand. Connecting through touch or just being present in a quiet, mindful way can bridge the divide between individual — and unique — sorrows and provide immeasurable comfort.

Touch as medicine
“Many health care providers intuitively sense that a compassionate touch or presence can help to alleviate pain and discomfort in their patients. A sympathetic hand on the arm can help a person absorb difficult news, or an encouraging pat on the shoulder may provide motivation toward recovery.

I would like to interrupt Dr. Sheeler’s words to mention that I have written about the benefits of human touch in the form of hugging as well as companionship. Check out my post What is the value of hugging? and 22 Ways dogs make humans better for more details.

Dr. Sheeler continued, “More-formal approaches to incorporating touch into medicine generally fall under the umbrella of complementary therapies that aim to support traditional treatments and improve quality of life. Some touch therapies focus on manipulating soft tissue, others on tuning into your energy. Most help you relax.

“Massage therapy, for example, manipulates your muscles, skin and tendons. Almost everyone feels better after a massage. Studies have shown it can reduce anxiety, pain and fatigue.

“Reiki, on the other hand, is an energy therapy where the practitioner’s hands are placed on or a few inches above the recipient’s body. Different hand positions are held about two to five minutes until the practitioner feels that the flow of energy has slowed or stopped. Recipients sometimes describe a feeling of warmth and relaxation after a session. Reiki has been used to treat stress, pain and nausea from chemotherapy.

“Examples of other touch therapies include reflexology, which focuses on specific parts of the body, deep tissue massage, spinal manipulation and healing (therapeutic) touch.

Getting close
“In an era dominated by virtual communication such as by cellphones, the Internet and wireless technology, it can be even more important to realize the value of being physically close. An arm around the shoulder of a family member or friend in need of comfort can often do more good than an email.

“Humans need to be near each other to be mentally, emotionally and physically healthy. The next time you’re tempted to withdraw, try reaching out instead. Since comfort levels with touch vary, you may need to ask for permission first, but offer and give a hug, link arms, sit close.

“Life is richer when you share the highs and lows together — words aren’t always necessary.

Want more great health information related to this subject? Read more about these types of medical practices and treatments in the Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine.

Tony

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Why You Should Exercise Regularly – Mayo Clinic

Regular readers know that I feel very strongly about exercising regularly. Eat less; move more is the mantra of this blog. So, I was thrilled to receive a Mayo Clinic Newsletter from Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. So many people think about exercise as an adjunct to dieting to lose weight. Wrong. You need to exercise to stay healthy and also to maintain a healthy body and body weight. You don’t stop after you reach your goal weight.

Here’s what the good doctor had to say, “If you exercise regularly, you may lower your risk of a heart attack and stroke. If you are middle-aged or older and haven’t been exercising regularly or have a chronic health problem, work with your doctor to develop an exercise program.

Running at the fitness club

“To condition your heart safely:
•    Start at a comfortable level of exertion — Try walking five to 10 minutes over a short distance indoors. Increase your time by five minutes a session as you’re able.
•    Schedule regular exercise — Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day of low- to moderate-intensity physical activity.
•    Include variety — Combine three types of exercise — stretching (flexibility), endurance (aerobic or cardio) and strengthening (weight training). Start each session with a warm-up of lower intensity, and cool down gradually. Mind-body exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, may provide even greater benefits.
•    Cross-train to reduce your risk of injury — Alternate among exercises that emphasize different parts of the body, such as swimming, bicycling and walking.
•    Don’t overdue it — Start slowly and build up gradually, allowing time between sessions for your body to rest and recover. And forget the saying “No pain, no gain.” A little muscle soreness when you do something new isn’t unusual, but soreness doesn’t equal pain. If it hurts, stop doing it.
•    Increase your physical activity — Even routine activities such as gardening, climbing stairs or washing floors can burn calories and help improve your health. You’ll get the most benefit from a structured exercise program, but any physical movement helps. Walk or bike to the store instead of driving, park farther away at the shopping mall or take the stairs instead of taking an elevator.”

Want more great health information? Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.

Tony

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R.I.P., Robin Williams

I have been a fan of Robin Williams since he exploded on the public consciousness with his antics as Mork, the alien from Ork in 1978. For more than three decades he never failed to bring me to outright laughter in his manic public appearances. His humor was so powerful that I often had tears running down my face and couldn’t catch my breath from laughing so violently. It is so tragically ironic that the battle with depression, of all things, cost him his life. I feel like I have lost a wonderful, funny, crazy friend.

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I posted on depression just over a year ago – How Bad is Depression?. You can read the entire item by clicking the link.

Here are some highlights:

One of the first things you need to know about depression is that it is a disorder of cognition not just mood, according to Robert D. Edger, M.D. speaking before Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®.

Depression is significantly more than feeling down or feeling sad.

Dr. Edger said that depression is the leading cause of disability in the world according to the World Health Organization. Women outnumber men by a factor of two-to-one. Only a quarter of the people who suffer from depression ever get treated. (Emphasis mine.)

The Mayo Clinic said, “More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply ‘snap out’ of. Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment.

WebMD wrote today, “One of the most urgent signs, which calls for immediate action, is talking about death or suicide.

“Other warning signs, according to Schneider, Krakower, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, may include:

“Talking about hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness
Feelings of being trapped, desperate, or anxious
Having persistent sadness or depression
Becoming more angry or irritable
Losing interest in life or loved ones
Having sleep problems
Contacting people and seeming to say goodbye”

Williams was only 63 years old, a young man by modern standards. Certainly, he could have counted on another decade or two if he hadn’t gotten derailed by the depression.

If any good can come from this tragic loss, perhaps it will be to awaken us to the dangers of depression and raise our level of consciousness on the subject. Maybe someone, or someone’s family, will address the problem instead of taking the easy way out and ignoring it. As funnyman Robin Williams has demonstrated, depression is no laughing matter.

Tony

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Lifestyle Techniques to Ease Arthritis Pain – Mayo Clinic

As regular readers know, I suffer from arthritis. Mine is in my hands at the base of each thumb. Because of it, I have difficulty turning a key in a lock, buttoning and unbuttoning clothes and generally using my hands to grasp. So, I am always on the lookout for tips on living with arthritis and dealing with the pain.  More than half of us over age 65 suffer from some variety of osteoarthritis. After age 65 more than 75 percent of arthritis sufferers are women.

“You can relieve much of the discomfort of arthritis by adopting a healthy lifestyle and using simple self-care techniques,” so says the Mayo Clinic in its book The Mayo Clinic on Healthy Aging.

arthritis body

Following are the guidelines for living with arthritis from the Mayo Clinic:

“Control your weight. Excess weight puts added stress on joints in your back, hips, knees and feet. Excess weight can also make joint replacement surgery more difficult.

“Develop an exercise program. Appropriate exercie helps keep joints flexible and builds muscle strength. Work with your doctor.

“Apply heat, especially before exercising. It will ease your pain, relax painful tense muscles and increase blood flow in the area.

“Apply cold for occasional flareups. Cold may dull the sensation of pain the first day or two. It can also decrease muscle spasms.

“Wear comfortable shoes that properly support your weight. This is especially important if you have arthritis in your weight-bearing joints or back.

 “Maintain good posture. Poor posture causes uneven weight distribution and may strain your ligaments and muscles. Walking can improve your posture.

“Practice relaxation techniques. Hypnosis, guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can all be used to control pain.

“If you’re tired, rest. Prioritize your energy. Arthritis can make  you prone to deep exhaustion.”

I recommend checking out the Mayo Clinic book which has tons of useful information on virtually every aspect of aging.

For further info on arthritis, the following posts may be helpful: How do I get relief from Arthritis in my hands, Shoulder Arthritis, Diet and exercise for knee Arthritis, Four ways exercise helps with Arthritis – Harvard, How to handle Arthritis through natural healing, Oleda Baker on Arthritis and Alcohol, Is it Okay to exercise with Arthritis?

Tony

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How to Handle Heartburn – Mayo Clinic

I recently learned that I suffer from heartburn so I was fascinated by these tips from the Mayo Clinic. “Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus,” according to Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

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” The following lifestyle changes may eliminate or reduce the frequency of your symptoms:
•    Avoid your triggers — Most people have specific foods and beverages that trigger heartburn. Common offenders are fried or fatty foods, chocolate, mint, alcohol, coffee, carbonated beverages, onions, tomato-based and spicy foods, and citrus foods and juices.

•    Lose excess weight — Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, which crowds your stomach and can cause acid backup.

•    Avoid tightness at your waist — Reduce pressure on your abdomen by loosening your belt or by not wearing control-top stockings or body-shaping undergarments.

•    Eat smaller meals — Doing so reduces pressure from the stomach on the lower esophageal sphincter and makes it less likely stomach acid will escape into your esophagus.

•    Don’t lie down after a meal — Wait two to three hours after a meal before you lie down. If you nap, try doing so in a more upright reclining chair.

•    Don’t use tobacco — Tobacco interferes with function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

•    Raise the head of your bed — If you’re bothered by heartburn in the night, elevate the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches using blocks under the legs.

“An appointment with your doctor is warranted if these lifestyle changes don’t relieve your symptoms or if you have heartburn more than twice a week.”

Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.

I practice most of these already on my doctor’s orders recommendation. I am sure they will benefit fellow sufferers. The one partially mentioned was that I can’t eat anything within 1-1/2 hours of going to bed for the night. This one brought immediate relief to me.

Tony

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Should You Try a Gluten-Free Diet?

A popular diet myth is that everyone can benefit from a gluten-free diet. It can give you more energy and is anti-inflammatory. Sales of gluten-free products increased 16 percent in 2010.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body can’t digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Less than two percent of the population suffers from celiac disease. So, the odds are that you don’t. Nonetheless, there are hundreds of Gluten-Free products.
gfree
The Mayo Clinic says, “A gluten-free diet is used to treat celiac disease. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.”

If you don’t have a medical reason for following a gluten-free diet, there is no benefit, according to Erin McCarthy, MS, RD, LDN at theCenter for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The Mayo Clinic also pointed out, “People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Many grains are enriched with vitamins. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products.

So, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. A gluten-free diet is very difficult to adhere to and you will likely get no direct benefit from it for your troubles.

Tony

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Cold Facts About Hot Dogs From the Mayo Clinic

“A typical 2-ounce, all beef frank contains 14 to 16 grams (g) of fat, between 150 and 180 calories, 25 to 40 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol, and over 500 mg of sodium, according to Robert D. Sheeler, M.D., Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

hot-dogs
He suggests that if you must consume them as a summertime treat, don’t overdo it and consider a hot dog that is:

Fat-free or has less than 2 g of fat — Made of beef, turkey or a mixture of meats, these can deliver a decent-tasting hot dog for 50 calories or less. They have little or no fat and 10 to 15 mg of cholesterol. Still, they typically have well over 400 mg of sodium.

Reduced fat — Made of beef, chicken or turkey, these contain between 7 and 10 g of fat, about 100 to 120 calories, 25 to 55 mg of cholesterol, and typically over 400 mg of sodium. Their taste isn’t necessarily better than that of very low-fat hot dogs. All-poultry hot dogs allow you to avoid red meat, which has been linked to colon cancer when eaten in large quantities.

Meatless — These typically are soy based with between 0 and 6 g of fat, no cholesterol, and 200 to 400 mg of sodium. Taste is subjective, but condiments may be needed to liven up their flavor.

Dr. Sheeler recommends boiling or microwaving your hot dogs as “grilling can cause charring and other changes that have been linked to cancer.”

The Mayo Clinic Store has the latest products from the Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.

Buon Appetito!

Tony

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Filed under eating, fast food, fat, healthy eating, healthy living, hot dog, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Weight

Tips on Eliminating Meat from your Diet – Mayo Clinic

I haven’t eliminated meat from my diet, but I have cut back sharply. If you are considering either going without meat, or cutting way back, you have probably wondered about what you will be missing in nutrition. Well, Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter offered some worthwhile tips for just such a situation.

” … if you eliminate or markedly reduce only the meat in your diet, but still consume animal products such as dairy and eggs, and a wide variety of plant-based foods, you should have no problem getting adequate protein, iron, calcium and vitamin B-12.

Not so much ...

Not so much …

“Even a vegan diet — which eliminates all animal-based foods, including dairy and eggs — provides adequate protein and iron if you get enough calories and eat a variety of foods, including soy products, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark green leafy vegetables.

“The only true nutritional issues for those who adopt a balanced vegan diet are:
•    Calcium — If you don’t consume dairy products, a calcium supplement may be necessary. Other calcium sources include fortified products such as some types of tofu, soy milk, breakfast cereal and fruit juice. Dark green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, also contain calcium.

•    Vitamin B-12 — Some foods, such as breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamin B-12. Still, you may need to take a vitamin supplement to get this important nutrient.
The key to a healthy meatless diet, like any diet, is to enjoy a variety of foods. No single food can provide all the nutrients your body needs.

“Want more great health information? Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.”

Tony

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Some Tips on Avoiding Junk Food – Mayo Clinic

Let’s face it, we are bombarded with junk food every day and all day from the time we get up in the morning till the time we go to sleep at night. Everyone knows the term junk food junkie.

Well, I just got a really good email from Robert D. Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter on the subject. He offers the following tips on a problem many of us need help with, namely, avoiding junk foods.

“Taste is a powerful force. Eating great food with friends and loved ones is one of the great pleasures of life. But at the same time, you’re not a slave to your taste buds.

I wrote about dealing with the nutritiional value of food over the taste of food last year in How to Use Your Brain for Weight Control.

Dr. Sheeler continues:

“You may be able to take control of your diet when your taste buds seem to be getting you into trouble.

“Even if you don’t like the taste of vegetables and fruits, you may be able to incorporate these healthy foods into your diet by:

•    Looking for ripe, in-season strawberries, grapes or dark cherries, as these are often quite sweet.

Much better for us than junk food

Much better for us than junk food

•    Adding vegetables to favorite foods, such as a soup, casserole or pizza. Slice up fresh fruit and put it in your morning cereal or yogurt.

•    Making a fruit smoothie or use a vegetable juicer.

•    Choosing milder offerings, such as carrots, bananas and pears, if bitter or sour flavors are what turn you off.

You can help control an inability to resist sugary, fatty junk food by:

•    Not keeping unhealthy food that you can’t resist in your home. If you do, keep it in very small amounts.

•    Eating healthy foods first, so when it comes time to enjoy a favorite treat, you’re less hungry.

•    Determining in advance how much of a treat you’ll eat and sticking with the plan.

“These days, taking care of yourself is a necessity of life — not only to stay healthy but also to avoid rising medical bills if at all possible. We make it our mission to provide practical, easy-to-understand information on topics of interest to millions of health-conscious people like you!”

I think the good doctor makes some fine suggestions here. Don’t you?

Tony

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Supplements vs Whole Foods? – Mayo Clinic Answers

This almost seems like an age old question to me. Supplements supply all those hundreds and thousands of milligrams of nutrients. Surely they have more food value than plain-old whole foods.

You can get much more than your entire daily requirement of vitamin C by 
just popping a pill. On the other hand, you can get your daily requirement by eating a large orange. So which is better? in most cases, the orange, says the Mayo Clinic in its publication Your Guide To Vitamin & Mineral Supplements.

“Whole foods — such as fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products — have three main benefits you can’t get in a pill:
• Whole foods are complex. They contain a variety of the 
nutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C as well as beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. Vitamin C supplements
lack these other nutrients. Similarly, a glass of milk provides you with protein, vitamin D, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. If you take only calcium supplements and skip calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, you may miss all the other nutrients you need for healthy bones.

• Whole foods provide dietary fiber. Fiber is important for digestion, and it helps prevent certain diseases. Soluble fiber (found in beans, some grains, and some fruits and vegetables) and insoluble fiber (found in whole grains and some fruits and vegetables) may help prevent heart disease, diabetes and constipation.

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