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  January 2014 Health News
  • Exercise: The Fountain of Youth?
  • Weight Loss: Are You Ready to Get Serious?
  • Drug Interactions: How Well Do Your Medicines Mix?
  • Tips for Flying
  • Dr. Oz: Winter Skin Care
  • Source for Women: Lose Weight the Healthy Way: Tips and Tricks to Go the Distance
  • Healthy Recipe: Meal-in-a-Bowl Minestrone
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Exercise: The fountain of youth?


Exercise can help people lose weight, increase energy and improve outlook. But, here's an added bonus: studies show that those who exercise also are physically younger. Who couldn't appreciate that?
 
The fitness-age connection
Keeping fit can help your life expectancy in two ways, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It can decrease your chances of developing diseases and conditions as you age. It also can affect the aging process itself, as shown by the impact on an individual's chromosomes.


During the study, researchers learned that chromosomes can give clues on the effects of aging. The chromosomes of the most active people were similar to those of inactive people 10 years younger – a strong reason to get moving.


Another study by the Buck Institute for Age Research found that exercise – and weight training in particular - actually can revive muscle tissue. Active older men and women took part in six months of twice-weekly strength training. Then, their tissue samples were compared to those of younger men and women. Exercise brought the samples from the older group back to levels similar to those in the younger group.

 

Boost your brain power
Exercise can slow the aging process not only physically, but mentally, too. In another recent study of Canadian women older than age 65, a link was found between physical exercise and the brain. Those who did regular aerobic exercise had better blood flow to the brain, which helps its ability to process information. In fact, the women who exercised scored 10 percent higher in brain function tests.


Keeping your brain fit with mental workouts also can help increase memory. So, challenge your brain by trying a new hobby or tackling a crossword puzzle, suggests the American Psychological Association. Learning a new language or playing a new musical instrument may help, too.


Get your weekly dose
In order to reap the benefits of exercise you have to hit the pavement, not the couch. You can follow these guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. They suggest that healthy adults need at least:

  • 30 minutes of moderate activity on five days each week - such as brisk walking, yoga or dancing or
  • 20 minutes of intense activity on three days each week - such as jogging, swimming or aerobic dance and
  • 20 minutes of strength training twice a week
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Weight Loss: Are you ready to get serious?

 

Along with a healthful diet, regular exercise can help you make your health a top priority. But, talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your exercise levels.
 
The best-kept weight-loss secret isn't a fad diet or a pill. It's a lifestyle—and a solid plan.

If you've made up your mind to drop those extra pounds—for good—don't jump in without a course of action. That's because in this case, "ready" and "set" are just as important as "go!"

 

Step 1: Let your doctor weigh in
A smart place to start is to talk with your doctor. He or she can help you set a healthy target weight—and suggest reliable ways to trim down.

 

Your doctor might also refer you to a registered dietitian or weight-loss program for extra guidance and support.*

 

Don't be surprised if your doctor cautions you not to peel off the pounds too quickly. Slow, steady weight loss—1 to 2 pounds each week—is the best way to have lasting results.

 

Step 2: Set the stage for success
Here are some more wise preparations:

 

Get psyched. Think about why shedding pounds matters to you. Do you want to feel your best? Play with your kids without getting winded? Lower your blood pressure? Prevent future health problems?

 

Stock up. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy foods. That way you'll have good choices on hand for meals and snacks.

 

Think small. Come up with a couple of modest—and doable—ways to begin. For example: "I'll savor small treats on special occasions" is more realistic than "I'll give up desserts forever."

 

Speaking of modest, how about downsizing your dishware? Using a smaller plate or bowl is a simple way to keep portions in check.

 

And, here's another small change that can pay off big: Sneak short, brisk walks into your day—aim for at least 10 minutes at a time. You'll burn extra calories. And, these quick outings may inspire you to be even more active. Once you have some mini-goals down, you can add others into your routine.

 

Put time on your side. Don't let a busy schedule derail your efforts. For example, set aside specific times to plan nutritious, calorie-wise meals and snacks—and to shop for the foods you'll need. And, here's an important one: Fit regular workouts into your day. See "How much exercise do I need?"

 

Rally support—it matters. Let others know about your goals and how they can help. Maybe your partner will team up with you to find healthy recipes the whole family can enjoy. Or, a neighbor or co-worker would gladly agree to be your walking buddy.

 

Step 3: Be in it for the long haul
Commit to these food and activity changes as a way of life—your new life. That's the true secret of maintaining a healthy weight.

Remind yourself that you're someone who enjoys healthy foods, watches portion sizes and stays active. Give it time—and be proud of the trimmer, healthier new you.

 

Source: All rights reserved. Healthy Mind Healthy Body® February 2013 e-newsletter by Arleen Fitzgerald, L.I.C.S.W., and Melanie Polk, M.M.Sc., R.D., F.A.D.A.


To sign up for Healthy Mind Healthy Body, visit uhc.com/myhealthnews.

 

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Drug Interactions: How Well Do Your Medicines Mix?

Some medications interact with other drugs or food. This can make you sick or cause the drug to not work properly. Learn about the dangers of drug interactions and how you can prevent them.

 

Taking an ibuprofen tablet for your headache is harmless, right? Not if you're also taking a blood thinner to prevent a stroke. The combination of the two drugs can cause your blood to become too thin, causing a serious bleeding problem. This is the result of a drug interaction.


Many medicines have powerful ingredients that can interact with other drugs and even some foods and beverages. Drug interactions can cause serious reactions in your body.


Types of drug interactions
There are three main types of drug interactions:


1. Drug-drug interactions occur when one medicine mixes with another and causes a reaction. This can happen with all types of drugs: prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, supplements or herbs. Possible interactions include:

 

  • One drug can increase or decrease the effect of the other drug.
    Example: Combining aspirin and blood thinners - two drugs that prevent blood clots from forming - may cause excessive bleeding. The herb ginkgo biloba may reduce the effectiveness of anticonvulsant drugs used to treat seizures.

  • One medicine can increase the side effects of the other drug.
    Example: The combination of a sedative (used to treat depression) and an antihistamine can cause excessive drowsiness.

  • Combining two medicines can cause a new effect.
    Example: Taking a decongestant with some antidepressant medicines may cause heart problems or a severe headache.

 

2. Drug-food interactions occur when a medicine interacts with something you eat or drink. Some effects include:

 

  • Food can reduce or increase the effects of a drug.
    Example: You should avoid foods that contain caffeine - like chocolate - if you take sedative-hypnotics (used to help you sleep.) Caffeine can make these drugs less effective.

  • Food can change how medicine is absorbed by the body.
    Example: Grapefruit juice can cause levels of some medicines to build up in the body. Cholesterol-lowering medicines called statins are some of the drugs known to interact with grapefruit.

  • The combination of the food and drug can create a new effect.
    Example: Eating certain cheeses and meats while on monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs (used to treat depression) can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure.

  • Medications may change how vitamins and minerals are absorbed or removed by the body.
    Example: Some diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix) and hydrochlorothiazide cause the body to get rid of too much potassium. In this case, your doctor may tell you to add potassium-rich foods to your diet or take a potassium supplement. Other diuretics, like Triamterene, may let too much potassium build up in the blood. This can lead to serious heart problems. Your doctor may tell you to limit potassium-rich foods if you take this drug.

    Mixing alcohol with most drugs is also dangerous. The combination may cause you to feel tired and slow your reactions. Drinking alcohol while on some drugs may raise your risk for liver damage or stomach bleeding. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can even be lethal. If you take prescription or over-the-counter medicine, talk to your doctor before you drink alcohol.


3. Drug-condition interactions occur when a medication interacts with a disease or condition. People with severe kidney disease should not take antacids unless directed by their doctor. Women should avoid certain drugs when pregnant, such as Accutane (used to treat acne), because it can cause birth defects.


The risk
Your risk of a drug interaction depends largely on how many medicines you take. The more medicines you take, the greater your chance of a harmful drug interaction. Older adults are at an increased risk because they often take more than one medicine.


Preventing drug interactions
You can lower your risk of a drug interaction by taking these seven steps:

  1. Read the labels of all medicines before you take them.
  2. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you take any new medicine, whether it's prescription or over-the-counter. Ask if there are any foods, beverages or other drugs you should avoid while taking the medication.
  3. Keep an up-to-date list of your medications. That includes prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins and supplements. Bring the list to your doctor appointments.
  4. Know what medication your doctor prescribes. If you can't read the doctor's handwriting on the prescription, the pharmacist may not be able to either. Verify the drug name and dose before you leave the doctor's office.
  5. Take your medication as prescribed. If the directions say to take the drug on an empty stomach, be sure to do so.
  6. Store all medicines in their original containers so you will not accidentally take the wrong drug.
  7. Use one pharmacy for all of your medications.
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Tips for Flying

You’re on vacation with your list of sights in hand, but you have to get through the flight before reaching your destination.

 

Does flying give your tummy turbulence? These tips may help you avoid being airsick:

 

  • Request a seat over the wings. This area of the plane has the least amount of movement.
  • Eat a light snack before you travel.
  • Tell yourself you’ll be fine — and you might be. Those who expect to be ill are more apt to have symptoms.
  • What about medicines? Talk with your doctor before taking anything for motion sickness. Some remedies can interact with other medicines — or pose other safety concerns, particularly for children and pregnant women.

 

On long flights:

  • Move around the cabin when that’s allowed.
  • Do seated exercises. Try rotating your ankles and flexing your calf muscles.
  • Stay hydrated with non-alcoholic drinks.


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Better Health with Dr. Oz: Winter Skin Care

The harsh winter elements can wreck havoc on your skin. Fight back with these tips.

Click here to view the program.

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Source4Women Online Seminar
Lose Weight the Healthy Way: Tips and tricks to go the distance


Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD

January 14, 2014,12:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. CT

 

New year, new you. Are you among the 90% of people who break their lofty goals and resolutions early in January? If so, it’s time for a clean slate. Let 2014 be the year you lose weight and keep it off by learning the tricks of the trade from nutrition experts. This seminar will highlight simple tips and tricks that you may use to turn those unhealthy habits that cause weight gain into healthy habits that may lead to weight loss. A good diet is the one you may stick with and also the one that you don’t know you are on. Join us to learn how to adopt a small steps, non-diet approach to a thinner, healthier you.


To register for an upcoming Source4Women seminar, visit www.source4women.com and click on "Online Seminars & Events." All seminars are recorded and archived for viewing after the live seminar date.

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January Healthy Recipe: Meal-in-a-Bowl Minestrone

 

A hearty and healthy soup, good for meals on the run.


Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 cups plus 1/4 cup water
1 can (14 1/2 oz) reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
1 cup small whole-wheat pasta (such as elbow macaroni)
1 medium carrot, cut in chunks 1/4 inch thick
1 can (15 oz) no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz broccoli rabe (see FYI), cut bite-size, or 4 cups broccoli florets
1 medium zucchini, cut in chunks 1/2 inch thick
4 oz green beans, cut in 1-in. pieces (1 cup)
1 cup packed parsley leaves
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1 lb plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped in 1/2-in. pieces (2 1/2 cups)

Directions:

Heat 1 tsp oil in a heavy 5- to 6-qt pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in onion; cover and cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tsp garlic; cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add 4 cups water and the broth; bring to a boil. Add pasta and carrot; boil 5 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cannellini beans. Stir the rest into the pot along with broccoli rabe, zucchini and green beans. Return to a boil and boil 5 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, puree remaining cannellini beans with 5 tsps of oil, 1 tsp of garlic, 1/4 cup of water, parsley and cheese in a food processor or blender. Set aside. Remove the pot or Dutch oven from heat; stir tomatoes into soup. Stir in the parsley mixture or serve it alongside the soup.


Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 327
Total Fat: 9g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 2mg
Sodium: 361mg
Total Carbohydrates: 51g
Dietary Fiber: 11g
Protein: 15g

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