Most females probably take some type of calcium supplement — or think they should. Getting enough calcium builds strong bones. But new research suggests that it may be better to get that calcium boost from food rather than pills. New research suggests your daily calcium supplement may not be beneficial (and even harmful) to your heart.
Calcium supplements, commonly taken by older people for osteoporosis, are associated with an increased risk of a heart attack, finds a study published online in the British Medical Journal. The results suggest that a reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in osteoporosis management is needed. Calcium supplements are commonly prescribed for skeletal health, but a recent trial suggested they might increase rates of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and cardiovascular events in healthy older women.
Researchers decided to further investigate initial findings suggesting that healthy, older women taking calcium supplements face increased rates of heart attacks. The University of Auckland team analyzed the results of 11 existing studies with 12,000 participants — over 40 years of age, both genders — who took at least 500 mg supplemental calcium (half the daily recommended intake) for more than a year. The pooled data suggests daily pill takers were 30 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack compared to those taking a placebo. Given the modest benefits of calcium supplements on bone density and fracture prevention, a reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in osteoporosis management is warranted, they conclude.
It's important to note that dietary calcium poses no such risk. What's more, previous research shows that when you get calcium from food sources, you end up with stronger bones than those who rely on pills only — even when pill takers have higher overall intakes.
Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, greens (collards, dandelion, kale, etc.), canned salmon and black-eyed peas. While we typically associate calcium with bone health, diets rich in calcium from food may also help protect against 10 different types of cancer, including prostate, breast, lung and colorectal. — British Medical Journal; Dole Nutrition News
Q: I am a breast cancer survivor. Is it safe for me to be exercising?
A: From a recently published gathering of experts on exercise in cancer survivors, the bottom line advice is to "avoid inactivity." The panel stated that overall, exercise is safe for breast cancer survivors, both during and after treatment. The expert panel's research review concluded that physical activity benefits breast cancer survivors' quality of life and fitness and anxiety levels. And it seems to decrease fatigue as well as help to improve weight or body fat versus muscle composition in some women.
There are a few conditions that require some attention. Roughly half of breast cancer survivors can have arm or shoulder problems related to treatment; these should be resolved before beginning a program of upper body exercise, and women can learn steps to be proactive in preventing injury. Likewise, women with extreme fatigue or anemia should get these resolved before beginning an exercise program. Women with lymphedema — a swelling that can occur after lymph node removal or radiation to the underarm area — should wear a well-fitting compression garment during exercise, including strength training. Conditions that require some adjustment in exercise plans include heart conditions, decreased immune function and bone metastases or hormonal treatments that put bone health at risk. Survivors currently in chemotherapy or radiation treatment are advised to take extra precautions to avoid the spread of infections if they work out at public gyms.
Breast cancer survivors should not let that list of precautions scare them away or give them the impression that exercise is risky, however. With so many benefits, they're urged to gradually incorporate both aerobic and strength training into their lifestyles, but to do so wisely with input from their physician and, ideally, an exercise trainer with cancer-specific expertise. — American Institute for Cancer Research
Few beef burgers compare to a great turkey burger, in my opinion. From Cooking Light magazine's September 2010 issue, try this recipe for Southwest Turkey Burgers. Adjust the spice with the color of the poblano chile. The darker the chile, the more fiery it will be.
2 poblano chiles (about 1/2 pound)
1 ounce French bread baguette
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
4 (1/1 2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices tomato
4 green leaf lettuce leaves
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Cut poblanos in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place poblanos, skin-side down, on grill rack; grill 10 minutes or until blackened. Place poblanos in a small zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and dice.
Place bread in food processor; pulse to make coarse crumbs. Measure 1/2 cup. Combine crumbs and milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, cumin and next 4 ingredients (through turkey). Gently mix just until combined.
Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions; shape into a 1/2-inch patty. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until done. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon chili powder and mayonnaise. Top bottom half of each bun with tomato slice, lettuce leaf, patty and 1 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture. Yield: 4 servings. (Serving size: 1 burger).
Per serving: 321 calories, 27.8 g protein, 32.5 g carbohydrate, 8.5 g fat, 56 mg cholesterol, 2.6 g fiber, 658 mg sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian from Springfield, Ill. For comments or questions, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.