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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Learning can be fun... (for me, at least) Part Deux...

          So, to continue...This is part 2, click here to read PART 1

          6.  My baby won't stop coughing! For you mommies out there, this is for you.  As you know, many cough medications for children have recently been labeled as unsafe for young children.  What is a sleepy mommy to do when their child is up coughing all night?

          Turns out that HONEY was actually MORE EFFECTIVE than dextromethorphan (DM, the active ingredient in most cough syrups) in clinical studies. Honey soothes the throat and actually has anti-microbial properties.

          [You may have heard not to give honey to kids under 1 year due to concern about botulism, this is probably not a worry today but just to be safe, do not use honey in kids <1 year of age] .

          7.  Strong bones are a good thing.  Bones get weaker over time and calcium & vitamin D will help you keep your bones strong as you age.  Vitamin D is a hot topic because we are in an epidemic of deficiency.   So, have your vitamin D level checked.  The goal level is 35-40.  Most adults who are not deficient should be taking 800-1000 IU of vitamin D per day.  You may need more to get your level up to normal first.  So start now.  And as with anything else, don't go crazy and start taking mega-doses of vitamin D.  That's not good either.

          8.  Pooping is important.  And we all need fiber.  How should you get it?  There are a million brands of fiber, so which is best?  Turns out the stuff on the store shelves as you may have guessed is not as good as getting fiber through foods.  You should be trying to get about 20-30 grams of SOLUBLE fiber per day.  Metamucil, fibercon etc. is INSOLUBLE fiber and one dose contains about 3 grams of fiber.  So, try taking that 10x per day.  OR, you can eat about 1/3 cup of ALL BRAN per day to get 20 grams of fiber and improve your stools, your weight, your cholesterol, your blood pressure etc.  I'm going with the latter.

          9.  Fish oil, all the rage.

          Should you take it?  Answer...Maybe.  Just like anything else in medicine, it depends on who you are and your risk factors.  Fish oil has many beneficial cardiovascular effects and can even help with back pain or muscle pain.  But, it can cause GI issues and thin the blood. So if that is a problem for you, try to avoid supplementing.

          What kind?  Turns out Costco brand is just as good as the more expensive varieties.  Love that place.

          How much?  Again, depends.  If you are healthy, try getting it naturally in fish about 2x/week.  If you have heart disease or high triglycerides, you may want to try higher doses if that is safe for you (2-4 grams/day, check with your doctor).

          10.  Don't miss the forest through the trees.  The last and most important lesson. Focus on what is important.  Evaluate your cardiovascular risk factors and modify them if you want to live longer and be healthier.  Don't worry about how much or what type of vitamin E is best if your cholesterol is out of whack and if you are 100 pounds overweight.  The only vitamin E that will cure that is EXERCISE.

          If you do the following 10 things you will have a 70% chance of living to age 85 without mental and physical disability.

          • DON'T smoke
          • Lower your LDL cholesterol to <100
          • Normalize your blood pressure and your blood sugar
          • Have a normal waist circumfrence and minimize belly fat
          • Lower your stress and normalize your mental health
          • Eat 1 serving of fruit/veggies per day
          • Drink MODERATE amounts of alcohol
          • Exercise on average 30 minutes per day
          • Eat a diet high in fish oils and fiber and low in salt


          Can you do this?  Less than 3% of Americans do....I challenge you to try!  Become familar with the REYNOLDS RISK SCORE.  It is a calculation of your risk of heart disease or stroke.  WIth a little help and some numbers from your doctor, you can calculate this risk for yourself.  And then, if needed you can work on modifying your risk factors.

          So here's to 100!  Sounds exhausting...