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For October 17, 2018

  • Caffeine Comes Out Smelling Sweet
    Caffeine Comes Out Smelling Sweet

    From John Hopkins Health

    It's OK to wake up and drink the coffee.

    Caffeine isn't as harmful as many people believe, according to experts at the American Dietetic Association's 82nd Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Atlanta. In fact, it's even OK for children to have caffeine.

    "If you enjoy caffeine-containing products in moderation, there isn't a need to discontinue them because of long-term health consequences," said Herbert Muncie, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Maryland. "There is no evidence that caffeine harms children or leads to hyperactivity."

    Researchers defined moderate caffeine intake as two or three cups of coffee a day or the equivalent of 300 milligrams of caffeine. A cup of brewed coffee has between 80 to 135 milligrams of caffeine while a 12-ounce can of soda has between 35 and 55 milligrams.

    The possible health effects of caffeine have been a hot topic of late, and one reason is coffee´┐Żs increasing popularity. In 1991, there were specialty coffee shops in 500 locations throughout the United States. By 1999, that number had skyrocketed to 7,000, according to the dietetic association.

    Johns Hopkins dietitian Cheryl Koch, M.S., R.D., C.N.S.D., who attended the Atlanta conference, said many people believe that the caffeine in coffee, tea and some sodas can be harmful to their health.

    Even some nutrition experts at the conference had the wrong ideas. Koch said Dr. Muncie asked the gathered dietitians four questions about caffeine, noting that other health care providers he had polled had gotten them wrong. Koch said she correctly answered three of the four, missing a question about the amount of caffeine in espresso. The other questions asked how much caffeine is in brewed coffee, whether caffeine contributes to heart disease and whether it contributes to some types of cancer.

    Here's what caffeine doesn't do, according to the experts who talked about the issue at the conference. There is no evidence that caffeine is linked to cancers of the stomach, liver, colon, breast, mouth, bladder or rectum. Studies show caffeine does not increase the risk of heart disease and has no effect on cardiac arrhythmias. Caffeine causes a very slight rise in blood pressure, but the effect appears to be insignificant and temporary.

    Caffeine doesn't cause fibrocystic breast disease, and reducing caffeine intake doesn't reduce the severity or frequency of symptoms in someone who already has the disease.

    Studies show caffeine doesn't cause peptic ulcers or contribute to inflammatory bowel disease. However, one of caffeine's negative effects is to increase the symptoms of gastric reflux in people who experience the problem. Koch said patients with reflux often mention that caffeine and spicy foods in particular cause them distress.

    Perhaps the most surprising information presented at the conference is that caffeine appears to have little effect on pregnancy. Studies found that drinking caffeine during pregnancy reduces a baby's birth weight by 3 to 6 grams. That amount was statistically significant, but researchers are still unsure whether caffeine has an adverse effect on the baby.

    Studies also showed that caffeine intake during pregnancy may slow a baby's growth after birth, but the connection is not yet clear.

    Koch said researchers at the conference concluded that moderate caffeine drinking during pregnancy may be OK. But Koch said the jury's still out on questions of caffeine drinking during pregnancy, and she still believes it's a good idea for pregnant women to limit caffeine intake.

    "It's not something I'm sure I'm going to tell people to go out and do, but it's interesting to know that there appears to be a limited effect," Koch said. Dietitians at the conference were surprised by the findings, she said, because they, too, believed caffeine could slow the fetus' growth and lead to other problems with the pregnancy. "We always tell pregnant women to avoid caffeine."

    As to whether caffeine is addictive, it depends on the definition of addiction. Quitting caffeine produces withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, lethargy and reduced concentration. But caffeine withdrawal doesn't have other effects that are commonly linked with drug addiction. For instance, it doesn't alter brain chemistry or lead to antisocial behavior.

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  • Ten Gym Mistakes Beginners Make
    Ten Gym Mistakes Beginners Make
    Originally featured in: Men's Fitness Written by: Bobby Lee

    Ten Gym Mistakes Beginners Make And How To Avoid Them

    Being new at the gym is awkward enough, but starting a workout program without knowing what you're doing is far worse. In our attempt to impart enlightenment for the weight-room initiate, we present 10 common mistakes you should know about -- immediately.

    Using incorrect form while bench pressing (dumbbell or barbell):

    Regardless of whom you see doing it at the gym, don't pick your feet up from the floor when you bench. Some people tell you to keep your feet up so you don't arch your back during the movement. But if you have to arch your back, you're benching way beyond your abilities. Switch to a lighter weight to ensure that your feet are always solidly planted. This will keep you from toppling off the bench and injuring yourself or others.

    Holding your breath:

    This may seem ridiculously obvious, but remember to breathe when you lift. Sometimes, when an activity is new, you concentrate so much on doing it correctly that you forget to let your body do its natural things, like breathing. The breathing pattern for lifting is to exhale on the positive phase (pushing or pulling the weight) and inhale on the negative (lowering the weight). Holding your breath can raise your blood pressure and, if you hold it long enough, cause fainting.

    Not using collars:

    Always use collars on the bars when you're working without a spotter. Everybody has a weaker side of the body, and this weakness is exaggerated in the initial phases of weight training. During a lift, the bar may begin to lean imperceptibly toward the weaker side of the body. As it tilts, the plates slide downward until they suddenly spill off the bar and the opposite side drops in a quick seesaw action-- accompanied by a loud clanging of iron. You're left standing or lying red-faced, not physically hurt, perhaps, but definitely diminished in the pectoral pecking order. Use collars.

    Fearing that you'll get too big:

    Don't ever say this in the gym, or you'll instantly be branded a gymbecile. The reality is that few people put on as much muscle as they want; most settle for a physique better than the one they started with, but hardly the one they idealize. Remember: A pound of muscle is approximately the size of a baseball, while a pound of fat is about the size of a softball. In other words, you can add plenty of lean muscle before your biceps burst through your shirt sleeves.

    Spotting incorrectly:

    Hang around a gym long enough and, sooner or later, you'll either be asked to spot or need one yourself. If you suspect you're going to need a spot, ask for it. Gym rats are always more than willing, and it's much better to ask quietly for a spot than to scream loudly for help once you're in trouble. If you're asked to spot a guy who's benching 500 pounds and you know you couldn't roll that, much less lift it, be honest and say so. To fail as a spotter and endanger someone is unforgivable.

    Trying to spot reduce:

    There's no such thing. If you have a belly, wearing a plastic suit or some sort of gizmo around your stomach as you exercise won't transform your legendary flab into equally fabulous abs. Neither will doing 20,000 crunches a day. The only way to develop and see your abs is to exercise and watch your diet. You can have the strongest abs in the world, but if they're swathed in fat, no one will ever see them.

    Starting too heavy:

    Resist the temptation to lift as much as you can the first few times in the gym, even if the smaller guy next to you is lifting more. While your muscles may be able to lift the weight, your connective tissues probably aren't ready for it. Go for high reps the first few times and gradually work your way heavier, especially in pushing exercises such as the bench press and any of the shoulder exercises. There's no sense in building stronger muscles without corresponding strength in the connective tissue to avoid injury. And there's no sense in trying to outlift that smaller guy if you shorten your limbs in the process.

    Playing a personal stereo too loudly:

    Wearing a personal stereo is a good idea if you don't like the music in the gym. We all know music picks up spirit and energy, but remember to keep it low. Headphones regularly emit more than 100 dBA. Sustained exposure to sounds over 85 dBA can cause temporary damage or permanent hearing loss. If you can't hear somebody speaking to you in a normal voice, turn it down. No sense becoming buff and deaf.

    Not drinking enough water:

    Your blood is 85 percent water, your brain 75 percent and your muscles 70 percent. Drink lots of it. If a muscle is dehydrated by 3 percent, it loses 10 percent of its contractile strength. Drink before you're thirsty. By the time you're conscious of thirst, you're already partially dehydrated, which can adversely affect stamina and concentration. To keep from becoming a stumbling, mumbling gym zombie, drink water. It's even calorie-free.

    Wearing a weight belt:

    Don't wear a weight belt when you're just starting out. The weight you use shouldn't be so heavy that you need a belt to lift it (if you have back problems, see a doctor before starting). Wearing a belt can cause you to develop poor lifting habits, such as not consciously tightening your abs as you lift. If you have to wear a belt, remember to loosen it between sets. A tight belt can raise blood pressure and cause ulcer-like symptoms, such as heartburn or abdominal pain. Remember, the belt is designed to help support the lower back, not act as a girdle.

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  • The Importance Of Nutrition
    The Importance Of Nutrition

    The importance of good nutrition is nothing new. Back in 400 B.C., Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." Today, good nutrition is more important than ever. At least four of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.--heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes--are directly related to way we eat; diet is also implicated in scores of other conditions. But while the wrong diet can be deadly, eating right is among the key cornerstones of health.

    Of course, food alone isn't the key to a longer and healthier life. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, which also includes regular exercise, not smoking or drinking alcohol excessively, stress management, limiting exposure to environmental hazards and other factors. And no matter how well you eat, your genes play a big part in your risk for certain health problems. But don't underestimate the influence of how and what you eat.

    For example, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can begin in early childhood, but the process can be halted--even reversed--if you make healthy changes in your diet and lifestyle. The gradual bone thinning that results in osteoporosis may be prevented if you consume enough calcium from dairy products and other sources throughout your life and participate in weight-bearing exercise. You may be genetically predisposed to diabetes, but keep your weight within a healthy range through diet and exercise and the disease may never strike you.

    The keys to good nutrition are balance, variety and moderation. High-fat foods are balanced with low-fat foods, and calorie intake is offset by enough activity to maintain normal weight. To stay healthy, your body needs the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein --the three main components of nutrition. Each day, you should get:

    • 20 to 25 percent of total calories from protein foods
    • 15 to 30 percent of calories from fat
    • 45 to 60 percent from carbohydrates.

    You also need vitamins, minerals and other substances from many different foods, and while some foods are better than others, no single food or food group has it all--so eating a variety of different foods is essential.

    Moderation means eating neither too much nor too little of any food or nutrient. Too much food can result in excess weight and even too much of certain nutrients, while eating too little can lead to numerous nutrient deficiencies and low body mass.

    Read More...
  • The Importance Of Nutrition
    The Importance Of Nutrition

    The importance of good nutrition is nothing new. Back in 400 B.C., Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." Today, good nutrition is more important than ever. At least four of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.--heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes--are directly related to way we eat; diet is also implicated in scores of other conditions. But while the wrong diet can be deadly, eating right is among the key cornerstones of health.

    Of course, food alone isn't the key to a longer and healthier life. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, which also includes regular exercise, not smoking or drinking alcohol excessively, stress management, limiting exposure to environmental hazards and other factors. And no matter how well you eat, your genes play a big part in your risk for certain health problems. But don't underestimate the influence of how and what you eat.

    For example, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can begin in early childhood, but the process can be halted--even reversed--if you make healthy changes in your diet and lifestyle. The gradual bone thinning that results in osteoporosis may be prevented if you consume enough calcium from dairy products and other sources throughout your life and participate in weight-bearing exercise. You may be genetically predisposed to diabetes, but keep your weight within a healthy range through diet and exercise and the disease may never strike you.

    The keys to good nutrition are balance, variety and moderation. High-fat foods are balanced with low-fat foods, and calorie intake is offset by enough activity to maintain normal weight. To stay healthy, your body needs the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein --the three main components of nutrition. Each day, you should get:

    • 20 to 25 percent of total calories from protein foods
    • 15 to 30 percent of calories from fat
    • 45 to 60 percent from carbohydrates.

    You also need vitamins, minerals and other substances from many different foods, and while some foods are better than others, no single food or food group has it all--so eating a variety of different foods is essential.

    Moderation means eating neither too much nor too little of any food or nutrient. Too much food can result in excess weight and even too much of certain nutrients, while eating too little can lead to numerous nutrient deficiencies and low body mass.

    Read More...
  • Dieticians look at health effects of coffee
    Dieticians look at health effects of coffee
    From Medical Correspondent Linda Ciampa

    (CNN) -- Millions of Americans jump start their day with a cup of coffee, but what are the health effects of this morning ritual? That is the question being discussed at this week's American Dietetic Association's (ADA) meeting in Atlanta.

    "The research shows us that moderation which is about three cups of coffee a day is fine. It does not cause disease," said ADA's Edith Howard Hogan.

    While it is unlikely that coffee will cause cancer, heart disease or osteoporosis, there are a few reasons some people should cut back on their intake.

    For instance, studies have shown drinking more than three cups of coffee a day may affect a woman's fertility and increase pregnant women's risk of early delivery. And while the evidence in humans is inconclusive, caffeine has been shown to cause birth defects in rats.

    Also to be considered is caffeine's impact on mood and sleep. Dr. John Hughes of the University of Vermont and others say the substance is addictive and for some people, as little as a cup of coffee a day is too much.

    "If you have anxiety or insomnia, it's very important to look at your caffeine intake and cut down on your caffeine and see if that makes it better, because this is an easy fix," said Hughes.

    But stopping cold turkey is not always easy, some people experience withdrawal symptoms including headaches and cramps.

    Experts say caffeine is something that should be given up slowly. The best way to quit is by reducing the number of cups of coffee you drink each day, or diluting the full strength coffee with a decaffeinated version. As you slowly reduce intake the caffeine craving with disappear.

    Read More...
  • Treating Overuse Injuries
    Treating Overuse Injuries

    Johns Hopkins Health

    You will usually feel the discomfort of an overuse injury within 24 hours. The main symptoms are a dull ache, a twinge when the joint is moved a certain way, or a burning or shooting pain when the injured area is touched or weight is put on it. Swelling may occur and you will find that exercise causes discomfort or pain.

    Because overuse injuries are caused by repeated stressing of the same tissue over and over, the most important treatment is to immediately stop whatever activity caused the irritation in the first place. You should then see your doctor about further treatment. Often, 2 or 3 weeks of rest will allow the inflammation to subside, but your doctor might also want to prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, like NSAIDS (which include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen), cortisone or other drugs.

    During the first 48 hours after the injury, an ice pack (applied every few hours) is particularly helpful in reducing swelling. Sports medicine specialists now think ice application is the best treatment for an inflamed joint or area. It should be applied daily for 30 minutes and after workouts. Ice should be applied everyday at least once and preferably twice, for as many days as needed for the pain to resolve. Heat is now recommended only for stretching, especially muscle strains.

    It's also important to identify exactly what caused the inflammation and learn how to avoid it in the future. Sometimes this may mean cutting back on a certain activity, or switching to one that is less stressful on your joints (for example, substituting swimming or cycling for running or walking). Equipment should be checked carefully as well: A tennis racket that is too heavy or tightly strung can contribute to elbow inflammation (tennis elbow), while shoes that are too stiff can strain the tendons in the bottom of the foot (plantar fasciitis). Changing techniques with a coach or trainer can also be helpful.

    Improving the strength and mobility of an affected joint, along with related muscles, can also help prevent a recurrence. A physical therapist or other trained professional can work with you to identify your weaknesses, and also teach you exercises that will increase your range of motion.

    Strains and sprains are often used as interchangeable terms, but they are not synonymous. When you strain or "pull" a muscle, you have over-stretched or torn the muscle itself. You've strained yourself when you push yourself harder than usual--for example, you decide to sprint down the street to the mailbox when you are not used to running. A sprain is a torn or over-stretched ligament (the tough, flexible cord that links bone to bone). You can sprain a joint--like your ankle--but you can't sprain a muscle. Two of the most commonly strained muscles, the hamstrings (rear thigh muscles) and inner thigh (groin) muscles, pull because they are stretched when placed under high demand such as sprinting. Strained muscles should be treated with ice for at least 72 hours. Heat can be used to allow stretching, but they should still be treated with ice after exercise. Before working out, you should take 5 minutes to warm up, and loosen these muscles. If you strain yourself, you should stop doing that particular exercise for several days, until the muscle repairs itself. To speed the healing process, you can apply ice to the injured area. The RICE treatment may also be used for sprains, most likely for a sprained ankle.

    Read More...

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