Sharpen thinking skills with a better night's sleep

When people don’t get enough sleep, their attention and concentration abilities decline. Their reaction time lengthens, they’re inattentive, and they don’t respond as well to environmental signals. That means they can’t take in new information or react to dangerous situations. But people can make up for lost sleep and restore focus and clarity by seeing a doctor about a possible underlying cause of sleep trouble, seeing a sleep specialist, cutting out caffeine and foods that cause heartburn, practicing good sleep hygiene, and exercising earlier in the day. More »

Ask the doctor: Should we ban trans fats?

The FDA is considering removing trans fats from its list of ingredients "generally regarded as safe." If this ruling is made final, companies will have to prove that trans fats are safe if they want to continue to put them in their products. (Locked) More »

A racing heart: Cause for concern?

Heart palpitations are very common. They can be caused by many things, such as caffeine, stress, or thyroid problems. Palpitations that appear as a fleeting symptom and generally require no evaluation. Palpitations that last for more than a few seconds to minutes or are associated with lightheadedness or passing out should be evaluated thoroughly by a doctor. Sometimes the cause is an abnormal heart rhythm or a leaky heart valve. Sometimes palpitations are the result of another condition such as anxiety or low blood sugar. Treating the underlying condition can often resolve the palpitations. (Locked) More »

Pill-free way to reduce pain and improve balance and flexibility

Yoga is a series of postures and breathing techniques that include an element of awareness. It has many components that can help one cope with everything from chronic illness to sleep disorders. The poses help decrease muscular tension and build flexibility and strength. Weight-bearing postures can help build bone strength, and there are postures to improve balance. The mindfulness aspect of yoga helps with stress reduction, improves sleep, and helps one become more accepting of the body during the aging process. (Locked) More »

Must-haves from the produce aisle

Spring vegetables taste great and provide important nutritional benefits that aren’t found in a pill bottle. Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, an excellent source of folate, vitamin A, iron, and vitamin K. Asparagus is rich in folate and other B vitamins, antioxidants that help fight inflammation, and fiber. Cherries are bursting with antioxidants, as well as fiber and vitamin C. Strawberries are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack. They are packed with vitamin C, fiber, anthocyanins, and heart-healthy antioxidants. Sugar snap peas are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C and folate, among other nutrients.  (Locked) More »

5 tips to build muscle strength

Strong muscles are needed to strengthen bones, control blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight, reduce joint pain, and fight mild depression. When undertaking a strength training program, it’s important to work with a certified personal trainer or a physical therapist; use both weights and resistance bands; get enough sleep to allow muscles time to rebuild; eat the right combination of protein sources, grain-based carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables; and work strength training into daily activities. (Locked) More »

Should you avoid grapefruit juice?

Many drugs are affected by grapefruit juice. The drugs affected most include cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, blood pressure drugs called calcium-channel blockers, and anti-anxiety medications. Not all drugs in a class are affected by grapefruit juice. So simply switching to another type within that class may enable people to enjoy a drink of grapefruit juice. It’s important to speak with a doctor before drinking grapefruit juice. Even if it’s allowed, one should avoid drinking grapefruit juice with medications. (Locked) More »