Has drinking coffee suddenly become good for you?

Coffee seems to getting a better reputation these days. For years, the mantra coming from most medical people was to lay off the caffeine for better health. Not anymore. Drinking a lot of coffee has been associated with lowering the risk of diabetes, and coffee drinkers seem to be at less risk for colon cancer. There may be a link to better cognitive functions in coffee drinkers, and perhaps even some disease protection.

Coffee does have some beneficial nutrients, but not large amounts. It is high in antioxidants, chiefly due to the amount consumers drink every day. The downside is the things we put in our coffee. Rich creams and sugar are not very healthy for you, however, coffee drinkers are beginning to embrace a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg. These help reducing the harshness of rich coffees, so you can add less of the bad stuff.

Like all stimulants you can have too much of a good thing. More than three eight-ounce cups of coffee a day might be too much. And drinking coffee late in the day can create a restless night of sleep. And certain types of cardiac patients should not drink stimulants in any form.

Has drinking coffee suddenly become good for you? Things look promising, but more research needs to be done.

DDC Does “Harlem Shake” for Colon Cancer Awareness Month

While a diagnosis for colon cancer can be devastating to the individual and his or her loved ones, it is highly treatable when discovered early. The DDC decided to create their own video of the internet meme “Harlem Shake” to create awareness for Colon Cancer.

Colorectal Cancer in the United States Facts:

  • affects approximately 1 in 20 people
  • is the second leading cause of cancer deaths
  • affects both men and women, with men being more susceptible
  • African Americans are more susceptible than other ethnic groups
  • 90% of new cases and 95% of deaths occur in people 50 or older
  • most screenings should begin at age 50; age 45 for African Americans
  • five-year survival rate at early detection – approx. 90%
  • five-year survival rate when detected at latter stages – as low as approx. 12%

Read more about Colon Cancer Awareness.

Is Your Seafood Being Mislabeled?

A new study by advocacy group Oceana found that up to one-third of seafood sold in the United States may be fraudulently labeled.

Fraudent labeling occurs when a restaurant labels a fish on the menu as one thing, but really is serving a much less expensive product. A nationwide test found that if you ordered snapper, 87% of the time something else was served in its place.

The fraud doesn’t just occur on the restaurant end. Suppliers can also benefit from taking advantage of unsuspecting chefs and restauranteurs by offering similar products or by artificially increasing the weight of a fish by inflating them with water.

This problem was most common at you guessed it, sushi restaurants. Oceana found that 95% of the sushi restaurants surveyed were found selling mislabeled seafood.

Darren Lee Norris, co-owner of Kushi Izakaya & Sushi to the Washington Post,

“I think it comes down to a restaurant or chef who’s trying to buy something cheaper and jazz it up and call it something else.”


Read the full article at Washington Post.

NEJM report on GERD treated with LINX magnetic sphincter

The LINX magnetic sphincter has been offered as an alternative for patients who do not respond well to proton pump inhibitors. The procedure is less invasive, and does not involve significant alteration to the patient’s anatomy. The device is removable if needed, and is well tolerated. Patients usually go home the day of surgery or the day after. Magnetic sphincters reduce acid exposure to the esophagus. Patients notice an improvement in heartburn and regurgitation symptoms.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that in this single-group evaluation of 100 patients before and after sphincter augmentation with a magnetic device, exposure to esophageal acid decreased, reflux symptoms improved, and use of proton-pump inhibitors decreased.

Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide to Nuts

Nuts are more than just an occasional snack! Nuts are full of protein and nutrients. Recent studies indicate that people who eat nuts are less likely to suffer from heart disease, or have heart attacks. Nuts are full of unsaturated fats, and increase the good (HDL) cholesterol in your body. They also contain vitamin E, folic acid, and fiber.
Photo credit: s58y / Foter.com / CC BY

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Cooking Winter Greens

You see winter greens a lot in the vegetable aisle about this time of year, but the idea of cooking greens can be intimidating for some homemakers. They should not be worried. Greens are easy to cook, are packed with calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and a plant version of omega-3 fatty acids. So why the hesitation? Cleaning and cutting greens is a chore, and getting all the dirt and sand out of the leaves can be tough.

But you don’t have to anymore. Green grocers now offer cleaned and cut greens in bags that make a healthy soup or side dish. You can boil greens in salt water for a few minutes, and have a delicious side-dish to any meal, or you can make greens the center of the table. Try this:

  • Boil a chicken breast in 8 cups of water, some salt (not much) and some pepper. Remove the breast and set aside.  
  • Add a bag of pre-washed kale and slow boil for about 20 minutes. If you like a crunchier green, you can boil to taste. There is no limit. In southern kitchens, greens stay on the stove as long as the cook wants.
  • Add more water if necessary, some kidney beans, and cut up the chicken breast.
  • Serve in bowls with lots of juice.

Greens are a versatile offering. You can add anything to them, and they still taste great. But more important, nutritionists are beginning to notice the rich vitamin content, and low fat that greens offer. You don’t have to use traditional cooking methods for greens. Those include ham pieces, or ham hocks, and fatty additions. That way of southern cooking tended to make greens greasy, and while they tasted great, they weren’t very good for you.

Times have changed. Give greens a try.
Photo credit: Evan-Amos / Foter.com / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

Are Onions The Superfood Your Diet Is Missing?

Onions are often categorized as the cause for foul breath and indigestion, but they may have superfood benefits that your diet could benefit from.

New research shows that onions are nutritional powerhouses and can keep the heart healthy, strengthen bones, reduce cancer and aid in digestion.

Onions contain a carbohydrate known as fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), that can serves as food for our intestinal bacteria and promote the growth of health, immune-boosting bacteria.

Other superfoods include acai berry, blueberries, oranges, beans, spinach, tomatoes and walnuts.


Read more at RunnersWorld.

Observation units may ease burdens of ER care, but at what cost to patients?

Hospitals are now opting to move people from the emergency room and directly into “outpatient” style monitoring units where they can undergo further testing before it’s determined by a doctor whether or not they should be admitted to the hospital or returned home.

For example if a patient is experiencing chest pain, the hospital may keep them for an extended time for an EKG or stress test. The results of these tests can help decide whether the situation is critical or not.

Yet while there is a benefit to receiving immediate attention for a medical concern, insurance providers typically charge this as an “outpatient procedure” and patients are forced to pay a la carte for each test done. Compared to an inpatient stay, the costs can be exponential.

Continue reading at The Washington Post.

Dash Diet is Ranked #1 by US World News & Report

The Dash Diet was developed in part by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and was recently ranked by US News as the best diet overall for healthy living.

The eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, seeds and nuts. The Dash Diet removes most salt, sweets and sugary beverages that are typically found in most peoples daily routines.

The Dash Diet is available for online viewing in the full and brief forms. You can also read further on whether you’ll lose weight, the cardiovascular benefits, controlling diabetes and more on USNews.

Do Food Diaries Really Work?

Food diaries are a much-debated subject, in the media, and in the cloud. Some studies suggest that keeping a diary of what you eat leads to better life-choices all around. Others complain that diaries about food become monotonous, and abandoned, in time.

Several web sites are working on making a food diary more palatable, adding applications for your smart phone, customizing common foods that you eat every day, and even building whole menus for each meal.

Medhelp boasts the largest online site for managing your food intake, exercise, and even your conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes. There are others, so check them out.  MyFoodDiary may be worth a look. 

Staying on the program is the key, and that seems to be almost as much of a struggle as losing weight.


FDA Approves New Use of Avastin Plus Chemotherapy for People with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

“The majority of people diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer receive Avastin plus chemotherapy as their initial treatment,” said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “These people now have the option to continue with Avastin plus a new chemotherapy after their cancer worsens, which may help them live longer than changing to the new chemotherapy alone.”