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Daily Archives: December 28, 2016

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Is It Safe to Eat Raw Oats (as in Overnight Oats)?

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You fell hard for the overnight oats craze, and we don’t blame you for becoming completely obsessed (we did too!) Overnight oats taste amazing because you can come up with all kinds of delicious flavor combinations from chocolate coconut almond, to banana cashew, to vanilla almond raspberry. They’re easy to throw together and eat on-the-go, and they’re one of the quickest breakfasts you can make that keep you feeling full all morning long. The only issue is that you may have heard that eating raw oats isn’t safe because they contain phytic acid.

Why is phytic acid bad? Also known as phytate, it’s found in grains, nuts, seeds, and beans and binds to essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron, preventing your body from being able to absorb them. So it makes sense that if you consume too much phytic acid, you can have issues with mineral deficiencies. But don’t worry! Nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition say that even though “oats do contain phytic acid, soaking them overnight will remove some of it.”

Soaking oats also helps to break down the starches, so they’re easier to digest (read: less bloating) than cooked oats. If traditionally prepared oatmeal made with rolled or steel cut oats have always been off-limits because it bothers your stomach, overnight oats may not.

So go ahead and eat overnight oats every morning of the week! They’re safe, easy on the tummy, and a great choice if you’re watching your weight because the complex carbs and fiber keep you fuller. If you really crave a warm bowl, pop your glass jar in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.

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If You're Looking to Eat Healthier in 2017, Start With These 10 Tips Now

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Diet-Changes-Weight-Loss-42805201

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If 2017 is the year you’ve committed to losing weight, making these 10 diet changes will make a huge difference is reaching your goal. You can do it!

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How to Kill Your Sugar Addiction Before It Kills You

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While excusing yourself from sugary celebrations is no fun, neither is dealing with a post-sugar-binge hangover. And on top of it, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave — it can take a few days to weeks to get over an addiction to refined sugar once you start. Not only that, but studies have shown that eating too much refined sugar can speed up your body’s aging process. If you know you can’t resist sweet temptations, read on to learn nutritionist-approved strategies that will keep you on the right track.

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Choose wisely: If you’re going to indulge, go for seasonal sweets that you know you can’t get when it’s not the holidays. “You can have chocolate any time of the year,” says registered dietitian, nutritionist, and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Tamara Melton. Go for a seasonal dessert you crave all year, like a treat from an ice cream truck in the Summer or pumpkin pie in the Fall. Just remember that just because these treats are only available for a limited time doesn’t mean you should go overboard. Practice portion control by having a plan, Tamara advises.

Think positive: Set yourself up for success by telling yourself that you got this. “Words are powerful,” says Kathie Dolgin, author of Sugar Savvy Solution: Kick Your Sugar Addiction for Life and Get Healthy. “If you think resisting sugar is going to be hard, it will be hard. Change that negative self-talk if you are going to take control of your diet and your health. Believe you can do this!”

Not being hungry is key: Don’t want to chow down on the entire candy bowl? Set yourself up for success by eating a balanced meal or snack every three to four hours, Tamara says. Simone Gloger, a registered nutritionist and Dukan Diet nutritionist, recommends three protein-rich meals and two protein-rich snacks every day to help you resist cravings. “I usually pack my lunch and snacks each day so I don’t give into the temptation that is all around me,” Simone says.

Know that cravings might be something else: Before you reach for that peanut butter cup, think about what you really need. “People mistake thirst for hunger or cravings,” Kathie says. “That dip in energy that sends you hunting for a snack is often just a sign of dehydration. So hydrate and hydrate and drink water, not juice or soda.” Kathie recommends spa water — water infused with your favorite fruits — to hit sugar cravings the natural way. If you are craving a treat, opt for a small piece of dark chocolate or a single-serving yogurt that comes with sweet mix-ins like chocolate or granola, Tamara advises.

Don’t dwell: Tried your best, but couldn’t resist the siren song of holiday treats? Don’t beat yourself up about it. “Forgive yourself and get back on track,” Kathie says. “Forgiving and being kind to others (as well as yourself!) boosts self-esteem and gratitude for what you have (thus combating the negative self-talk that can send you running for the cookie jar) and gives you the same endorphin rush as sugar.” Afterward, make sure your next meal is only when you are hungry, Tamara says. “Resolve to eat healthier at your next meal, then load up on plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Be sure to also include lean sources of protein, which help to keep you satisfied.”

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FDA Approves Implant to Battle Opioid Addiction

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A new long-acting implant that can help treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers was approved Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “Today’s approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients’ efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.”

Probuphine is placed in the upper arm of recovering addicts and releases a steady six-month dose of buprenorphine, an anti-addiction drug designed to combat the cravings that come with opioids like heroin or powerful prescription painkillers like Percocet or OxyContin. Buprenorphine is already available as a pill or a film that can be placed in the mouth.

The steady flow from the implant will reduce fluctuations that can occur when taking a medication once or twice daily, and it removes the need for a patient to remember to take it, said Dr. Annie Umbricht, an expert in substance abuse treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“A person suffering from addiction would not have to go through the up-and-downs of a daily medication, and therefore will feel much more normal,” Umbricht explained.

Clinical trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 showed the implant led to higher abstinence rates among addicts, with 40 percent remaining drug-free compared with 28 percent receiving a placebo.

People given the implant also were more likely to remain in treatment, about 66 percent compared with 31 percent of the placebo group.

“It really reduces or eliminates cravings, and they don’t start searching around for opiates,” said Dr. Scott Segal, president and chief medical officer of the Segal Institute for Clinical Research in Miami, one of the centers that participated in the clinical trials.

The implant provides patients with no-fail treatment during its six-month period of effectiveness, Segal said.

“Things happen in life,” he said. “You miss your doctor’s appointment, the pharmacy doesn’t have the medication and there’s problems. The implant takes relapse off the table.”

It takes about 15 minutes to place the implant, Segal said, and side effects are similar to oral buprenorphine. They include headache, depression, constipation, nausea, vomiting and back pain, according to the FDA.

“I was concerned that patients would [not] like this option, and I was dead wrong,” he said. “The patients enrolled quickly. They liked it. They tolerated it well. And they were upset when we took them off the implant at the end of the study.”

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and the new implant could also help counter that, Umbricht said.

There were 28,647 overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription pain killers in 2014, an average of 78 per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s because people undergo treatment and lose their tolerance for opioids, but then leave treatment with a high risk of relapse, Umbricht said.

“We know the rate of relapse after drug treatment is more than 90 percent,” Umbricht said. “These people have lost their tolerance, but they don’t realize it. They are at high risk for overdose.”

The implant can help stabilize addicts during treatment, and then provide them with support against relapse once they’ve been released, she said.

Buprenorphine provides effects that are similar to, but weaker than, opioids like heroin or methadone, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But those effects level off at moderate doses, lowering the risk of misuse and addiction, SAMHSA says.

Buprenorphine also interferes with the effects of full-strength opiates, Segal said.

“It tends to saturate the receptors that respond to opiates,” he said. “Even if you were to take opiates with it, you won’t get high. It provides pain relief, but doesn’t give them the buzz or high that heroin would.”

The implant eliminates one other concern associated with oral buprenorphine—the likelihood that someone with a prescription will share their pills with friends.

Researchers estimate that as much as 50 percent of oral buprenorphine prescriptions are “diverted,” Umbricht said.

The intent is most likely to help other people quit their drug habit, Umbricht said, but without drug counseling those addicts are not likely to succeed.

“That person is not going to get the psychosocial support they need,” Umbricht said, adding that drug sharing also maintains illegal behaviors that recovering addicts need to shake.

Addiction specialist Dr. Kevin Cotterell agreed.

“The prospect of a long-acting opiate agonist-antagonist surgically implanted for use in the treatment of addiction to opiates is very encouraging,” said Cotterell, a psychiatrist with South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y. “It will help in overcoming problems with compliance, which is a great barrier to recovery. It will enhance safety and reduce diversion if used widely.”

More information

For more on buprenophine, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


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At Least 10 Pregnant Women in Dallas Have Zika Virus, Officials Say

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — At least 10 pregnant women in the Dallas area have been infected with Zika, Texas officials confirmed Wednesday.

All of the women contracted the mosquito-borne virus while traveling abroad, Dallas Health and Human Services officials told CBS News.

In related news, the U.S. House on Thursday approved a $1.1 billion funding package to combat the Zika threat, the Associated Press reported.

The bill still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate, and it remains to be seen if President Barack Obama will sign it. Obama originally asked Congress for $1.9 billion, and Democrats and the White House have voiced opposition to certain provisions of the package.

Even though there have been no local transmissions of Zika reported yet in the United States, the number of cases of infection among pregnant women keeps climbing.

As of June 9, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are 234 cases of pregnant women on the U.S. mainland who have been infected with Zika, which typically involves relatively mild symptoms in most adults. However, it can cause devastating birth defects in babies that include microcephaly, where an infant is born with an abnormally small head and brain.

In Latin America, thousands of babies have already been born with microcephaly. And researchers reported Wednesday that fears over Zika-related birth defects may be driving up abortion rates in Latin American countries affected by the virus.

In Brazil and Ecuador—where governments have issued health warnings on the danger to the fetus from maternal Zika infection—requests for abortion in 2016 have doubled from 2010 rates, the researchers reported.

The other 17 Latin American countries covered by the new study had their rates rise by more than a third during that time, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers noted that because data on family planning in Latin America is often hard to come by, their numbers may underestimate the surge in abortions since Zika’s emergence.

“The World Health Organization predicts as many as 4 million Zika cases across the Americas over the next year, and the virus will inevitably spread to other countries,” noted study senior author Dr. Catherine Aiken, of the University of Cambridge in England.

But no nation has been more affected than Brazil. As a result of the Zika epidemic, almost 5,000 babies have been born with microcephaly there.

However, the CDC warned last Friday that infection rates are rising in Puerto Rico. Testing of blood donations in the U.S. territory—”our most accurate real-time leading indicator of Zika activity”—suggest that more and more people on the island have been infected, according to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

“The real importance of this information is that in coming months it’s possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected with Zika,” Frieden stressed. “This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year,” he added.

“Controlling this mosquito is very difficult,” Frieden said. “It takes an entire community working together to protect a pregnant woman.”

Because the virus remains largely undetected, it will be months before affected babies begin to be born, Frieden said. Some will have microcephaly or other brain-related birth defects. But many will appear healthy and normal, and there’s no way to know how they might have been affected, he explained.

Zika is typically transmitted via the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. But, transmission of the virus through sex is more common than previously thought, World Health Organization officials have said.

Women of child-bearing age who live in an active Zika region should protect themselves from mosquitoes by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellent when outside, and staying indoors as much as possible, according to the CDC.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the Zika virus.

This Q&A will tell you what you need to know about Zika.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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Hot or Cold: What's the Best Way to Shower After a Workout?

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Hot-Cold-Showers-Better-After-Workout-42887286

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Have you heard of recovery showers? Apparently there’s a better way to rinse off after an intense workout — one that boosts recovery. Best part? It’s not an ice bath.

The concept of a “recovery shower” is alternating temperatures from hot to cold. Is this an effective way to stimulate circulation and aid in muscular recovery? “There is no yes or no answer to this question,” said Dr. Kristin Maynes, PT, DPT. “We all have to remember that every person’s body is different and may react to certain therapies differently.” That said, she totally recommends recovery showers.

“Yes, it can be an effective aid to muscle or injury recovery; however only for someone without an acute injury,” she told POPSUGAR. So as this is a great general method for recovery, keep in mind that if you’re dealing with an injury, you’ll need to discuss this with your own physical therapist. “If there is no injury, it [can] speed up the recovery process, keep the body mobile, and prevent stiffness.” Here’s how the recovery shower works:

First, Cold

“After a workout, you want to start off with cold — an ice bath or cold shower — to aid in the decrease in inflammation of muscles, joints, and tendons,” said Dr. Maynes. Exercise inflames these parts of your body, and as she put it, “it’s unhealthy to be in an inflamed state for prolonged periods of time.”

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The cold water locally decreases blood flow, reducing inflammation, stiffening the muscles and joints — thus decreasing pain (just like icing an injury). This is “very important for immediate recovery and works well in the acute stages of injury or right after a workout,” she said. “It is like a ‘pause’ button in the healing process to decrease the body’s quick response to injury, which can be very painful at times.”

Then Hot

Then switch to hot. “This will improve muscle and joint recovery to flush out all the build up of inflammatory cells, dead cells, scar tissue build up, etc. to improve the health of the bones.” Going from cold to hot also helps with potential stiffness. You know how you sometimes can’t walk after leg day? Try a cold-to-hot shower. “This can also aid in improvement of mobility of body structures so stiffness does not set in,” she said. “This is very good to use in the subacute and chronic stages of an injury.”

That said, if you’re injured, she stressed that this is not the way to recover. “You do not want to use heat in the first few days up to a week of an injury,” so avoid this kind of recovery shower.

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The Best Workout Recovery?

Post-workout recovery is essential, and it varies for everyone. “If you are active in aiding your recovery after an intense workout [with] stretching, foam rolling, yoga, etc., then adding an alternating hot shower or an ice bath is going to help,” said Dr. Maynes. “Find out what works best for your body whether it be hot shower, ice bath, or both; stick to it and it will help you.”

But be patient! “Nothing works in a day; you have to do it more than once to see an effect.”

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