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Keep your cool in the dog days of summer

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Dog days of July 3 through August 15 are the hottest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Contrary to folklore, the sea won’t boil and dogs won’t go mad, but there are a few other things we should watch for, such as:

Heat exhaustion

If you lose more water through sweat than you take in, you could develop heat exhaustion. On a hot day, especially if you are involved in physical activity, don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Have water available to drink throughout the day.

What you eat makes a difference. With each drop of sweat, your body loses potassium and magnesium, which are vital to the body’s temperature-regulating system. To replace these nutrients, eat fruit and drink fruit juices. Other sources are beans, potatoes, spinach, and tuna.


Doctors at Texas A&M University say there is no need to consume extra salt when you sweat. Salt tablets can be dangerous for some people, and most people get more than enough salt in their diets.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include pale or red, clammy skin, dizziness, and disorientation. Rapid shallow breathing, fast heartbeat, headache, and vomiting may occur.

The victim should be taken to a cool location, placed on his back with feet raised about 12 inches, given water, and sponged to cool the body.

Slow down and pace yourself when biking, running, or working in hot weather. Wear loose, light-colored clothing and stay in the shade as much as possible.

Heatstroke

Long hours in scorching hot weather can bring on heatstroke, especially if a person is dehydrated, diabetic, overweight, or has a sleep disorder. This is a life-threatening condition where body temperatures can rise dangerously. It requires immediate medical attention.

While waiting for medics, apply cold compresses to the head. Sponge the victim with warm water and alcohol, especially the underarms, groin, and head where heat is concentrated.

Cool the body with a fan and give cool water to drink. Never give coffee or alcoholic drinks to someone with heat stroke or suspected heatstroke.

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Not all diets best for heart-healthy weight loss

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Even though weight loss comes down to a simple formula — eat fewer calories than you burn — dieters should exercise caution when choosing how to eat. Not all diets are created equal when it comes to protecting or improving heart health.

According to the Harvard Heart Letter, all older adults should pay attention to their heart health, and for people who want to lose weight, low-carb diets may not be the best choice. Dieters who stick to a ketogenic or Atkins-style diet tend to eat lots of red meat and high-fat, high-salt processed meats, like bacon — not exactly heart-healthy choices. But low-carbohydrate diets aren’t completely off-limits — for dieters who prefer to avoid carbohydrates, doctors recommend choosing unprocessed or minimally processed foods and high-quality fats, such as those found in nuts.

But in general, experts caution, dieters should think twice about any diet that restricts a specific category of food, such as carbohydrates or fats because they are less sustainable for people who want to lose weight and keep it off. Instead of restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups, experts urge dieters to eat a variety of heart-healthy foods.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a variety of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils (such as olive oil) are all good choices for heart health. In addition, the AHA recommends that dieters limit saturated fats (such as butter), trans fats, sodium, red meat, sweets, and sugary drinks.


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Swollen legs? Move more often in hot weather

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In hot weather, if you get some puffiness around the ankles or an unpleasant tautness in your calves, it is because heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate), so body fluid moves into the hands or legs by gravity.

That is the official explanation from the University of Michigan.

Normally, your body maintains the right amount of fluid in tissues by performing a delicate balancing act. You drink fluid and get rid of it when you breathe, sweat or urinate. But sometimes not enough fluid leaves your tissues, and the result can range from a little puffiness to swelling.

These are the most common causes:


* Immobility. When you walk, run or move about, leg muscles contract, promoting blood flow. If you stand still, or sit still as you do in a long airline flight, blood can pool in your veins. This makes it difficult for fluid to move from body tissues back into vessels.

When your work keeps you standing or sitting in one spot during the day, use your legs whenever possible. Shift your weight from one foot to another. Take opportunities to walkabout.

* Salty foods. When you take in more salt than your body needs, the body dilutes it by retaining fluids and making you thirstier.

* Medications. Some commonly used drugs such as steroids, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, hormone replacement medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs can affect how quickly fluid leaves your vessels.

* Menstruation and pregnancy. Hormone levels can affect the rate at which fluid enters the tissues.

Reduce swelling by elevating feet, wearing compression socks, drinking more water, and moving around more. Swimming can be helpful.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say you should see your doctor promptly if your leg swelling is sudden, painful, persistent, in one leg, or accompanied by shortness of breath, weight gain, or redness.

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The anti-diet movement and intuitive eating: putting an end to the glorification of thinness

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The anti-diet movement and intuitive eating are increasingly publicized approaches to health and well-being. Is it possible to take care of yourself without trying to lose weight or control your behavior to keep it off? The possibility certainly grabs people’s attention. I invite you to read my reflection on the matter based on scientific literature as well as my 10 years of experience as a dietitian, my certification in intuitive eating, and the numerous experiences of my clients.

Marilou Morin, professional dietitian, and certified intuitive eating counselor

“An epidemic of disconnect” is how dietitians Marci Evans and Fiona Sutherland describe the current situation. Many people feel disconnected from and distrustful of their own bodies. Indeed, children as young as three years old start to assimilate the belief that being thin is better than being fat. It’s no wonder that by the age of nine, one-third of girls have already tried to lose weight, according to government data.

When we acknowledge that between 92 and 98 percent of diets fail within two to five years and that as many as two-thirds of people regain more weight than they lost (according to studies by Tomiyama), it’s not surprising that we see so many people caught in a vicious cycle of dieting. What’s more, diet culture blames the individual for failure. This leads to the perception that people who diet lack the willpower and motivation to lose weight when really, it’s the model itself that doesn’t work.


The concept of intuitive eating proposed by American dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, which exemplifies the anti-diet movement, involves the radical act of taking care of yourself with compassion, respect, and kindness.

It consists of:

• Making peace with food and rediscovering the joys of eating
• Reconnecting with your body to honor your physiological, emotional, psychological, relational, and spiritual needs
• Learning to respect your body and take care of your health in accordance with your values
• Realizing the impact of diet culture and systems of oppression on your overall well-being

Diet culture — which glorifies thinness, stigmatizes fatness, and demonizes certain foods in favor of others — is insidious. It appropriates the inclusive and benevolent language of intuitive eating to present itself in a better light. You’re then proposed “anti-diet” methods for how to lose weight — what a contradiction! These include:

• “Only eat when you’re hungry, and stop as soon as you feel full.”
• “Lose weight by slowly savoring your food with complete awareness and enjoyment of the experience.”

Do you feel influenced by an all-or-nothing mentality? Of success or failure as the only options? Eating with kindness isn’t about imposing rules on yourself. It’s about listening to your wants and needs and honoring them as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this. It’s a journey that’s as unique as you are, and it deserves attention, time, and compassion.

If you need professional guidance along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to a certified dietitian in your area.

Written by Marilou Morin, professional dietitian, and certified intuitive eating counselor

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Stay in the shade if you take these drugs

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Some drugs magnify the harmful effects of the sun.

According to Harvard Health Letter, you should check with your doctor to make sure the medications you are taking are sun-safe.

You’ll want to get more shade and less sun if you are taking the following drugs:

1. Antibiotics. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro, ProQuin), doxycycline (Oracea,Vibramycin), sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Gantanol, Septra) or tetracycline (Achromycin).


2. Cancer drugs that increase sun sensitivity. They include 5-fluorouracil (Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex), dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome) and vemurafenib (Zelboraf).

3. Decongestants and older antihistamines. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Try fexofenadine (Allegra) or loratadine (Claritin).

4. Diabetes medications. Chlorpropamide (Diabinese) and glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase, Micronase).

5. Diuretics. Furosemide (Lasix) and hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)

6. Cardiovascular medications. Amiodarone (Cordarone), for serious heart rhythm disturbances, and the blood pressure drugs diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac) and nifedipine (Procardia).

7. Pain relievers. Ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), celecoxib (Celebrex) and piroxicam (Feldene) increase the chances of serious sunburn. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) doesn’t.

8. Psychiatric drugs. Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), and other anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs can inhibit the body’s ability to sweat.

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Fat fights fitness, researchers say

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Are you overweight, but still engage in regular exercise?

Even though you’re physically active, those extra pounds might still be detrimental to your heart health, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study analyzed data from more than half a million adults who were sorted into groups by body weight. Forty-two percent of participants were normal weight, while 41 percent were overweight and 18 percent were obese. Researchers found that for all groups, exercise reduced the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In other words, no matter your weight, exercise is a good idea.

But those protective effects dwindled for overweight and obese individuals, regardless of how much exercise they engaged in.

The bottom line: Exercise is a great idea for anyone of any body size, but if you’re carrying some extra weight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan. Your heart will thank you.


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How to treat a sunburn

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If you missed a spot with sunscreen or forgot it entirely, you may have to cope with a sunburn at the end of your pool or beach day.

Once you notice a burn, stay out of the sun.

Start cooling water immediately. A cool water cloth could be handy in a pinch. At home, take slow-running cool showers throughout the day.

Take ibuprofen for pain and swelling.


Aloe vera is helpful for soothing skin.

Stay hydrated. Drink more water than usual.

Don’t pop blisters.

Dress in loose clothing with a tight-knit.

Stay out of the sun.

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