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What’s Happening in Health
Amazing-Solutions
Shop Contact Us NOVEMBER 2009
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The holidays are coming and they’ll certainly be more fun if you feel good. Follow the natural health tips below to help make this season what it's supposed to be: the happiest time of the year!

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This month’s articles:
Are You a Hyper-Eater?
Some brains are hardwired for overeating? Luckily, you can conquer “fat” brainwaves. Read more
Stay in Pro-Portion
Use a few simple images to make portion planning easy this holiday season. Read more
The (Long) Life of Hot Flashes
Doctors used to tell women that the internal inferno might last a year. Wrong! Read more
Bottled Water:  Friend or Foe
Americans are the world’s biggest bottled water drinkers (which may not be so good). Read more
A New Defense Against Seasonal Colds
Research shows that exercise offers protection. But how much? And how often? Read more
Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar
Several studies indicate the spice can also help with weight control. Read more
 

Holiday Pie Crust
Try this delicious, healthy pumpkin pie crust. (Only 57 calories per slice compared to 130 in traditional crust.)

■ Cooking spray, butter flavor
■ 4 sheets phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 350° and lightly spray 9-inch pie plate. Cut phyllo sheets in half. Place 1 in the pie plate and mist with spray. Lay another just to its right and mist again. Repeat until plate is fully lined. Press phyllo down. Roll edges in. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add pumpkin pie filling and bake according to your recipe directions. (Cover crust edges during baking if they
start getting too brown.)

Holiday Pie Crust

 

Hyper-Eating: Itís All in Your Head (& You Can Get It Out)
Why do Americans report gaining, on average, five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years? It’s easy to blame our annual belly bulge on the abundance of high-calorie food. But David Kessler, MD, author of The End of Overeating, says that some of us actually have a brain programmed to “hyper-eat,” and the holidays send it into overdrive. Here are the basic points in his argument:
Sugar, fat and salt make brain chemistry go wild. All three activate the brain’s production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that focuses human attention. Laboratory studies prove that dopamine levels rise higher in some people than others when they consume any of these unhealthy ingredients. And when any two are combined, the spike is particularly high.
Such foods train the brain to stay hungry. They neurologically arouse the urge to consume unhealthy foods and, in some people, keep it aroused too long. For example, soon after a healthy eater starts enjoying a piece of chocolate cake, the brain’s dopamine production shuts off. In hyper-eaters, it remains activated so they don’t begin to feel full. Instead, they must consciously force themselves to stop eating what they still crave.
Not everyone is equally vulnerable. Ask yourself three questions. Do you lose control around highly appealing foods? Is it hard for you to realize that you’re full when you eat them? And do you think about these foods between meals? The more you identify with the questions, the more programmed your brain is to overeating.
Hyper-eating is not an eating disorder. It impacts an estimated 70 million Americans and typically begins in childhood. Here’s how it works: if you give a 2-year old more calories than she normally consumes, her body will compel her to eat less later in the day. But if you feed her sugar, fat and salt frequently throughout the day for a few years, her brain will begin to lose the ability to “compensate” for the calorie splurge. And by age 5, she’ll probably be programmed to overeat.
Environmental cues initiate addictive-like desire. If every Thanksgiving you’re exposed to unhealthy sugar, fat and salt food choices, then everything surrounding the holiday ritual—from the china plates to particular music, even the streets you travel on your way to your relatives’ house—all become triggers that activate your brain’s dopamine production, encouraging you to eat too much of the wrong foods.
How can you stop the cravings? The same way cigarette smokers inhibit their cravings, says Dr. Kessler. Instead of looking at high-calorie, unhealthy holiday food as delicious, deliberately think about its damaging effects on your body. Research bears this out, says Dr. Kessler, “Attitudes do affect brain impulses.”

That's a Portion?
Experts at Harvard Medical School say it’s not just that our brains get hooked on unhealthy food. We also get accustomed to overly large portions. This holiday season keep yourself in check with these images of a single-portion size:

One Portion isÖ

It’s the size of…

½ cup cooked rice or pasta

 

a rounded handful

1 small muffin

 

a large egg

1 pancake

 

a compact disc

¼ bagel

 

a hockey puck

1 cup salad greens

 

2 cupped hands full

1 baked potato

 

a computer mouse

1 piece of fruit

 

a baseball

2 oz processed cheese

 

six dice

3 oz. fish

 

a checkbook

3 oz. red meat or poultry

 

a deck of cards

1 tsp butter or margarine

 

the tip of your thumb

 

The (Long) Life of Hot Flashes
Hot flashes plague roughly 75% of all women in menopause. The most effective treatment is hormone therapy, but health risks associated with it have made many women hesitant to start treatment. It turns out, their caution may be their good fortune… One Australian study tracked 438 women from pre-menopause through menopause and reported that hot flash duration was slightly longer in women taking hormones: 5.8 years in hormone therapy patients and 5.2 years in non-users. Amazing-Health Tip: This same research group found that regular, moderately strenuous exercise is linked to shorter hot flash duration. 

 

Bottled Water, Friend or Foe
Half of all Americans regularly drink bottled water. But according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, as much as 40% of it is just treated tap water. (Unfortunately, bottling plants are not legally obligated to disclose their water source. You can call the company and ask, but you may find them uncooperative.) Meanwhile, a University of Texas study has found that the bacterial content in an opened water bottle can jump 38-fold in 48 hours if exposed to warm temperature. So once you open a bottle, refrigerate what’s left and finish the bottle within two days. Amazing-Health Tip: Why not consider a water purifying system for your home. For purchasing advice visit www.nsf.org/certified/dwtu

 

Exercise Can Prevent a Cold
A team of Seattle researchers recently concluded that 45 minutes of moderate exercise, done 5 days a week, may help you avoid catching winter colds. The investigators enrolled 115 study participants. Half exercised five days a week for a year; the other half stretched for 45 minutes once a week. Those who stretched came down with three times as many colds as the exercisers. Amazing-Health Tip: The researchers suspect that regular exercise is preventive because it boosts the immune system

 

Cinnamon May Lower Blood Sugar
Studies show that even small amounts of cinnamon can lower blood glucose and improve insulin resistance in people with diabetes. That’s the news out of the federal government’s Diet, Genomics and Immunology Lab. The investigators also found that cinnamon aids digestion and increases fat metabolism (making it easier to lose weight). One study found benefit from consuming as little as one-half teaspoon per day, sprinkled over fruit, on toast or added to cooked meats and casseroles.  Amazing-Health Tip: Some scientists suspect that cinnamon could affect the efficacy of prescription drugs; so consult your doctor before trying this regimen. 

 

FROM OUR  READERS:

When using melatonin (or anything that is calming to people with sleep problems), remember the following precaution… If you have Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), consult your doctor before taking anything that affects the nervous system. Anything that represses the Central Nervous System can affect CSA adversely and involve a risk . . . Vicki E. Jones, RYT

 

 

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