Health Watch: Boost your memory with simple changes

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Do you ever find yourself at the grocery store struggling to remember what you came for? Are you forgetting birthdays and lunch dates? There are simple things that you can do in your everyday life to increase your ability to retain information and exercise your brain.

- Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connection between them. Instead of passively watching TV, try something that engages your brain: reading, writing, taking a class, doing a crossword puzzle or even learning a new game.

- Loneliness is linked to depression, a risk factor for memory loss. Try to keep your social network strong by volunteering or simply helping a neighbor.

- Maintaining a balanced diet, low in saturated fats is said to be better for cognitive functioning.

- Regular exercise can increase oxygen to the brain. It can also lower the risk for diseases that can lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

-- ARA Content

Burger King switches to trans fat free oil

Burger King Corp. said it is now cooking with trans fat free cooking oils at all of its restaurants nationwide.

The No. 2 hamburger chain also said all of its menu ingredients, including its baked goods, will contain zero grams of trans fat by Nov. 1.

Trans fats are partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. They can raise bad cholesterol and lower healthy cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease, according to doctors. Trans fats are used to increase the shelf life of foods and preserve flavor.

Health Tip

October is Talk About Prescriptions Month, and the National Council on Patient Information and Education is raising awareness about being medicine smart. Here are some tips:

- Make a list of your medicines; share it at every medical visit.

- Ask questions whenever a medicine is prescribed for you.

- Recognize that all medicines have risks as well as benefits and talk about this with your doctor or pharmacist.

- Get the full value of your medicines by following instructions carefully and report any problems if they occur.

- Read carefully all the written information that comes with your prescription. Follow the information on the “drug facts label” on over-the-counter medicines.

- Store your medicine safely and away from children.

Number to Know: 2.1 million

Approximately 1 in 133 people have celiac disease, however, only about 3 percent of these have been diagnosed. This means that there are more than 2.1 million undiagnosed people with celiac disease in the United States. – Celiac Sprue Association

Children’s Health

Researchers in Sweden have found that eating fish in infancy may help protect against eczema in children.

According to the study, babies whose diets included fish before the age of 9 months were 24 percent less likely to develop the skin condition by their first birthdays than babies who did not eat fish.

The infants were enrolled in an ongoing health study following almost 17,000 children from birth though childhood.

-- Archives of Disease in Childhood

Senior Health

Winter aggravations can create serious safety risks for seniors. Yet with some planning, preparation and caution, seniors can stay safe and even enjoy some time outdoors this season:

- Make sure your home and its heat source are safe, secure and reliable. Before the weather turns cold, have your home's furnace serviced.

- Stay in touch. Isolation can be a problem for seniors throughout the year, but it can be life-threatening in bad weather.

- Outdoor exercise in fresh, brisk air can be beneficial to your mental and physical well-being. Take care when walking outdoors on ice or snow. Invest in equipment that can help you stay sure-footed.

- Stock up on non-perishable food items. Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries, candles, a fully charged cell phone and a portable radio on hand for emergencies.

-- ARA Content

Flu Shot Guide

Flu season is quickly approaching, and the vaccine is becoming available. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide all you need to know about the flu vaccine.

There are two types of vaccines:

- The "flu shot" is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

- The nasal-spray flu vaccine is made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. This form is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

GateHouse News Service