Turkey-Pasta Soup

To ensure that the pasta cooks properly, make sure the soup is boiling when you add the ditali and that it comes back to a boil for the rest of cooking.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups water
1/3 cup chopped 33%-less-sodium ham (about 2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked ditali (about 4 ounces short tube-shaped macaroni)
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
3 cups thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage

Preparation
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add water, ham, pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in turkey and cabbage; cook 2 minutes or until cabbage wilts.

Nutritional Information
Calories:194 (23% from fat)
Fat:4.9g (sat 1.3g,mono 2g,poly 1g)
Protein:21.8g
Carbohydrate:14.2g
Fiber:1.2g
Cholesterol:44mg
Iron:1.6mg
Sodium:483mg
Calcium:45mg

Source: http://www.cookinglight.com

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7 Essentials for Heart Health

DALLAS, Jan. 20, 2010 (AP Online) — Here are the seven secrets to a long life: Stay away from cigarettes. Keep a slender physique. Get some exercise. Eat a healthy diet and keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar in check.

Research shows that most 50-year-olds who do that can live another 40 years free of stroke and heart disease, two of the most common killers, says Dr. Clyde Yancy, president of the American Heart Association. The heart association published the advice online Wednesday in the journal Circulation.

The group also is introducing an online quiz to help people gauge how close they are to the ideal. If you fall a bit short, it offers tips for improving.

“These seven factors — if you can keep them ideal or control them — end up being the fountain of youth for your heart,” said Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, a cardiologist who was lead author of the statement. “You live longer, you live healthier longer, you have much better quality of life in older age, require less medication, less medical care.”

Specifically, those with ideal cardiovascular health can answer yes to the following seven questions:

— Never smoked or quit more than one year ago.

— Body mass index less than 25.

— Get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

— Meet at least four of these dietary recommendations: 4 1/2 cups of fruit and vegetables a day; two or more 3.5-ounce servings a week of fish; drink no more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages a week; three or more 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains a day; less than 1,500 milligrams a day of salt.

— Total cholesterol of less than 200.

— Blood pressure below 120/80.

— Fasting blood glucose less than 100.

The online quiz calculates a score based on the answers, 10 being the ideal.

Doctors say the quiz is a good way for people to get a handle on how they’re doing, especially since people often think they’re doing better than they actually are.

The heart association found just that in a recent survey that showed 39 percent of Americans thought they had ideal heart health (OOTC:HHEL) , yet 54 percent of those had been told they had either a heart disease risk factor or needed to make a lifestyle change to improve heart health, or both.

With America’s obesity epidemic, weight especially is a pitfall for patients trying to meet these seven health factors, doctors say.

“Many people are surprised to find out how overweight they may be,” said Dr. Randal Thomas, director of the cardiovascular health clinic at the Mayo Clinic.

Lloyd-Jones, also chair of the preventive medicine department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said, “People I think are far too accepting of their waistlines.”

Thomas praises the online tool for giving people a score so they’ll have something to work toward. It offers advice for problem areas: for instance, advising someone who’s over weight to set a goal of losing a pound a week by burning up to 3,500 more calories than are taken in.

Yancy, the heart association president and medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in Dallas, said the organization has a goal for 2020 of improving cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

He said that in the last decade, there’s already been a nearly 40 percent reduction in death from heart disease and a nearly 35 percent reduction in death from stroke. He said those goals were achieved with improvements in treatments and prevention.

Linda Alvarado, 54, of Houston, said she knows how hard — and important — the changes can be. After having a quadruple bypass at the age of 47, she improved her diet and exercise, losing 40 pounds. Recently though, with a new 40-minute commute, some of those diet and exercise commitments have been put aside. While she’s kept the lost pounds off, she would like to lose five more pounds.

“It’s really up to you,” Alvarado said.

(Source: AARP.org)

How to stay healthy during old age: Keep moving

If you’re an older adult wondering what you should be doing to stay healthy, the most important answer is staying active.

“Physical activity is more powerful than any medication a senior can take,” says Dr. Cheryl Phillips, a San Francisco physician and president of the American Geriatrics Society.

Much of the frailty that accompanies advanced age can be mitigated through exercise. Even moderate activity makes a difference. Frailty often leads to impairment and the loss of independence developments that can be preventable.

Phillips recently offered this preventive-care advice for older people:

Sure shots: “Get a flu shot every winter and a vaccination against pneumonia once after you turn 65,” she says. The American Geriatrics Society also recommends a single vaccination against shingles after age 60 and a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.

Fighting the fall: Talk to your healthcare provider about falls and what you can do to prevent them. Each year, almost one-third of adults age 65 and older fall, resulting in nearly 450,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting rid of throw rugs, installing easy-to-grab bars in the bathroom and altering medication regimens can minimize the potential for a tumble.

Medication awareness: Your doctor should know every prescription, over-the-counter medication, supplement and vitamin you’re taking. Once a year, Phillips says, review the list, asking, “Do I need to keep taking this?”

Checkup savvy: Have your hearing, vision and blood pressure tested every year, get dental checkups annually and cholesterol tests at least every five years (more often if your levels are high).

Weighty (non)issue: Don’t worry about a few extra pounds. “People 65 and older actually do better with a little extra weight on them,” Phillips says. Getting sufficient nutrition is more important.

Early detection: Secondary prevention is aimed at finding illness early enough. This includes periodic screenings for colon cancer and mammograms for women who have a life expectancy of at least five years. Men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctors. Women can stop pap smears for cervical cancer after age 65 if three previous tests have been normal.

Supplemental help: Since bones thin with age, take calcium (at least 1,200 milligrams a day) and vitamin D (at least 600 international units) and periodically assess your risk of osteoporosis, Phillips says. Otherwise, she advises against taking vitamins, saying that older adults should get nutrients from well-balanced meals.

Smoke screen: If you’re a man and you have a history of smoking, you may want to get an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening once between the ages of 65 and 75, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Men are five times more likely than women to develop these bulges in the aorta, a major blood vessel, that can rupture and cause uncontrolled bleeding.

Take control: Tertiary prevention means controlling illnesses that exist. “Make sure you have good knowledge about your diabetes or heart disease and that you understand the things that can impact it and that you can manage,” Phillips says.

Start good habits: Last but not least come lifestyle changes that people know they should adopt but still ignore. Give up smoking; drink only in moderation; spend time with other people (try not to become isolated) and get active “anything you do with any kind of regularity will make a difference,” Phillips says.

(Source: LA Times)

Start a Tradition With Your Grandchildren

Art projects, movies, and walks around the neighborhood are great, but it’s the special, original, even offbeat activities that bring you closer together. Personal traditions offer benefits that can help your connection prosper, according to Stephan J. Quentzel, M.D., JD. Dr. Quentzel is a psychiatrist and medical director for the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

“Ongoing traditions provide structure and a framework for bonding,” he says. “They also generate anticipation for this fun and meaningful time together.”

We found some clever and creative ways grandparents across the country are bonding with their grandchildren through personal traditions. Adapt some of these tips for yourself, or create some new family traditions of your own.

Fired Up: Alice Kandell, New York City, N.Y., two grandchildren

My 3-year-old grandson, Sammy, loves reading about firefighters and fire stations, so about a year ago I started taking him to the local firehouse every so often. First, we stop at the supermarket to buy doughnuts or cookies for the squad. The crew talks with Sammy, flashes the lights for him, and sometimes lets him sit in a truck. I love that I’ve played a part in building on this interest he has, adding another dimension to it. And it’s also great to see him becoming aware of his community and connecting with the people around him.

The Write Impression: Dahlia Duran, Oak Brook, Ill., one grandchild
I started a journal for my four-year-old grandson even though he can’t write yet. When I sleep over, I ask him what he would like to remember about his day when he grows up, such as events that took place at his preschool. I write down his answer and he draws a picture on the following page. He loves it! I thought this was a good way to get him to tell me about his day, and when he’s older and learns to write, he can take over the journal.

Budding Beauty: Carolyn Sieven, East Montpelier, Vt., three grandchildren
Growing up, we had a large vegetable garden that my parents maintained; later, as an adult, when spring came each year, I would dig and plant. Our vacation house in Vermont has a small flower garden that I try to plant each Memorial Day with things that will bloom when we are there in the summer. My 3-year-old granddaughter, Kate, loves to help with this; in particular, digging holes for the plants, watering them, and looking for earthworms to rescue—she finds them fascinating! The rewards for me cannot be counted; we have a wonderful bond that’s definitely enhanced by our gardening projects. She remembers every detail of what I tell her and what we do, and I can see that she likes to know that she’s participated in something special.

Swing Time: Ruth “Mimi” Rutter, Pittsburgh, Pa., six grandchildren
I’ve been an avid golfer all my life, so I’ve shared this with my grandchildren, and several have started to show an interest in the game. Last year I had two grandsons visit for “Mimi’s Golf Camp,” a weeklong session I customized for them, featuring golf clinics with a pro, a private lesson, and short game practice with me. The finale was a nine-hole event we played, until we were chased in by a wild thunderstorm. We’ll do it again next summer—and we may even play 18 holes.

For more great ideas Click Here.
Source: AARP.com

Pedometers Can Motivate

If the journey toward fitness begins with a single step, make sure it’s counted with a pedometer.

These little step-tracking gadgets now have a solid track record when it comes to motivating people to exercise. And their popularity is growing.

Inside this small-as-an-egg device are the keys to exercise success that have eluded far more complex and expensive fitness programs: accountability, goal-setting and being able to monitor progress. If the objective is to reach 10,000 steps in a day (the recommended amount), seeing a tally of 4,000 steps at 3 p.m. is a wake-up call to start walking.

“When we ask people to start an exercise program, it’s important to have measurable, achievable goals, and adding this self-monitoring component is very critical,” says Simon Marshall, associate professor of exercise and nutritional science at San Diego State University. “We don’t know why exactly, but keeping a number, a prompt, in our consciousness on a regular basis is important, and that’s why pedometers are superior to other methods. It’s on you all the time.”

The fact that nothing has to be written down no fitness diary needs to be kept, no information must be logged on a computer makes pedometers easy to use day after day in various settings, none of which has to be a gym.

Perhaps better yet, the average cost is around $20.

“People describe them as being like little personal trainers,” says Catrine Tudor-Locke, associate professor and director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. “They provide ready, real-time data so you can make decisions about how you’re going to spend the rest of your day and make adjustments as needed.”

Los Angeles-based personal trainer Harley Pasternak has been studying the health habits of various cultures for his latest book, “The 5-Factor World Diet.” He says, “What I found was that in the 10 healthiest countries in the world, they all have different [dietary habits]. But one thing they all share is that they all walk way more than we do in America. For those in these 10 countries, being fit and healthy is about having an active lifestyle, while here in America, being fit is about performing an exercise in a room designated for fitness.”

Pedometers can create that lifestyle balance that many Americans otherwise would lack.

To Continue Reading Click Here.
(Source: AARP.com)

Why Ficromyalgia Has A Credibility Problem

On top of their daily struggle with pain, fibromyalgia patients are sometimes forced to fight another battle—convincing doctors, friends, coworkers, and others that their condition is real and that their pain is not all in their head.

Women suffer disproportionately from fibromyalgia, the symptoms are complex, and there is no cure. For these reasons, many patients and some doctors say that fibromyalgia is under-recognized and undertreated in the U.S.

“It was maddening. I felt like most of the doctors I saw were not acknowledging that I was really in pain,” says Shelley Kirkpatrick, 32, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, who began experiencing fatigue and excruciating joint and muscle pain in 2004.

“I felt they were thinking I was exaggerating my symptoms or that I was making them up entirely,” says Kirkpatrick. “Even to the point where I saw a neurologist who told my husband to take me to a psychiatrist because there was nothing wrong with me.”

Finally after two years of fruitless tests, her doctor told her she had fibromyalgia.

A high emotional price to pay
In a 2007 survey of more than 2,000 fibromyalgia sufferers, more than a quarter reported that their health-care provider did not view fibromyalgia as a “very legitimate” disorder.

It’s called the “credibility issue” in the fibromyalgia community. And while the situation has improved—it helps that the Food and Drug Administration approved a drug, Lyrica, for fibromyalgia in 2007—patients still face these challenges.

Not being believed can have emotional consequences. Kathleen Wisz, 68, of Woodridge, Ill., suffered on-and-off pains in her neck and upper back for 20 years before she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1992. Over the course of those frustrating two decades, most doctors recommended she be treated by a psychiatrist. Wisz reacted by withdrawing into herself.

“I just stopped going to see doctors. It was horrible, I wouldn’t talk to anybody about what I was feeling.” Often she’d just blame herself.

“I felt that maybe if I could learn to relax or whatever, then it would go away.” But during a six-month spell of all-over aches, pains, and flu-like symptoms, she was sent to a rheumatologist who gave her a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. “I never heard the word before he said it,” she says. Relieved to finally have a diagnosis, Wisz started reading about the condition and joined a support group.

To Continue Reading Click Here.

The Official Word to All, Get a Swine Flu Vaccination Now

Citing mistakes made in the 1957 flu pandemic, federal officials on Thursday urged hesitant Americans to get vaccinated now against swine flu to prevent any possibility of another wave of illness and deaths.

Vaccine is now plentiful across the country, and most states are encouraging people of all ages to get shots, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of immunization and respiratory disease for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When supplies were short, most states tried to limit the vaccine to children, pregnant women and others at higher risk.

In 1957, Dr. Schuchat said, officials “gave the all-clear whistle” in midwinter and did not encourage flu shots, which were then rarer and also less purified. As a result, she said, there was another substantial wave of deaths in March 1958.

But she conceded that no pandemic was identical to any other. The death rate from swine or H1N1 flu appears to be about a quarter of that of the 1957 flu, but that may be because of antiviral drugs and better ventilators, not the virus itself.

Flu activity across the country is far below its late-October peak, but still higher than normal for this time in most years. It is almost all still swine flu; almost no seasonal flu has been found, and Dr. Schuchat urged doctors to send more samples to state laboratories.

Pneumonia and flu deaths ticked up slightly, which officials were “really keeping our eye on,” she said. The percentage of doctor visits that involved flu symptoms also rose, but that is normal during Christmas vacation because few people schedule routine checkups. There is no way to know if the unusually cold weather has played a part, she said.

The disease centers’ “best guess” is that 60 million people have been vaccinated. There are now 136 million doses available from many sources, including city clinics, schools, private doctors and pharmacy chains.

(source: New York Times)