Monday, March 31, 2014


Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest, which occurs in the esophagus, just behind the heart, and in no way involves the heart. This happens when gastric acids from the stomach splash back up into the lower portion of the esophagus, causing pain.  The digestive acids don’t harm the stomach since it has protective coating, but the esophagus has no such coating, so you feel discomfort.

Heartburn Triggers:
  • Eating heavy meals
  • Eating rapidly
  • Eating foods like chocolate, garlic, onions, or peppermint
  • Smoking after eating
  • Drinking coffee (regular or decaffeinated)
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Taking aspirin
  • Hiatal hernia, a protrusion of the upper part of the stomach through the diaphragm, a condition that is present in one of every two people over the age of 60. This permits stomach acid to squirt back into the esophagus. 

Next week we shall discuss treatment / prevention of heartburn.

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Seven Ways to Make Your Barbecues Healthier

It’s almost summer again and one of the most popular summer activities is outdoor cookout.  Unfortunately, evidence suggests that foods cooked on charcoal, gas or electric grill may be hazardous to your health.

The National Academy of Science has discovered a possible link between the grilling of food and the development of what are believed to be cancer-causing compounds.  Some researchers suspect that when high-fat, high-protein foods – like hamburgers – are exposed to intense, searing heat of barbecue cooking, the fat and protein turn into mutagens – chemicals that can damage the genetic material of cells and possibly cause cancer.

Below are some other guidelines to reduce the potential risks from eating grilled food:
  • Before cooking meat or poultry (or fish, if applicable), trim away fat.  And don’t baste foods to be grilled with butter or oil.
  • Keep a spray water bottle handy to douse flare-ups.
  • Position food well above the heat source.
  • If noticebale amounts of fat drip and flare up as food cooks, lower the flame or move the food to another part of the grill.
  • Cook food until it’s done, but avoid charring it. The longer the food is grilled and the blacker it gets, the higher the risk.
  • To avoid charring fish and vegetables, wrap them in aluminum foil.
  • Many foods, like chicken, can be boiled or microwaved before grilling, to reduce fat content and grilling time.  

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guide to Minerals, Part 3

Potassium Needed for muscle  fresh fruits and  muscle weakness
contraction, heart action, vegetables, milk & irregular heartbeat
nerve transmission, fluid dairy products, nuts apathy, confusion
balance. Involved in  legumes, lean meat loss of appetite
making proteins. Needed (deficiencies are 
for maintenance of acid-  unlikely, unless
base balance.  Required  excessive water loss
for formation of glycogen occurs through 
(short-term storage of vomiting, diarrhea,
energy) extreme sweating
Selenium Works with vitamin E to  seafoods, lean meat heart muscle 
act as antioxidant and  whole grains, wheat abnormalities, 
protect cell membranes germ, milk, organ anemia
Sodium Needed for normal fluid salt, soy sauce,  muscle cramps,
balance, both inside and monosodium glu- weakness, mental
outside cells; nerve tamate (MSG), most apathy, loss of 
transmission, acid-base processed foods appetite (deficiencies
balance and muscle (especially soups, are unlikely, unless 
contraction sauces, and cured  another medical
meats), milk and  problem exists)
dairy products, meat
Zinc Works as part of many  milk and dairy  retarded growth,
enzymes. Present in products, whole prolonged wound 
insulin. Needed for making grains, vegetables, healing, slow sexual
reproductive hormones, liver, egg yolks, development, loss
normal sense of taste oysters, lean meat, of taste (and as a
and wound healing fish, poultry result, loss of 

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Guide to Minerals, Part 2

Iodine Part of thyroxine, a  iodized salt, sea salt enlarged thyroid 
hormone secreted by  seafood, seaweed, gland (goiter), weight 
the thyroid gland, which  foods grown in  gain & sluggishness.
helps to regulate growth,  iodine-rich soil,  Can cause severe
development, reproduction dairy products retardation of
& metabolic rate (rate at developing fetus
which calories are burned) during pregnancy
Iron Part of hemoglobin, which organ meats, fish, anemia, fatigue,
carries oxygen to cells. shellfish, egg yolks, muscle weakness,
Part of myoglobin, which poultry, enriched headaches, pale
makes oxygen available breads & cereals, skin, inability to
for muscle contraction. legumes, green leafy  concentrate
Needed for use of energy vegetables, dried
by the cells. fruits, molasses
Magnesium Builds protein. Needed to whole grains (esp. confusion, nervous-
release energy from food. wheat germ & bran) ness, disorientation,
Helps relax muscles after nuts, legumes, dark hallucinations
contraction. Helps resist green vegetables,
tooth decay. Needed for seafood, chocolate,
transmission of nerve cocoa
Phosphorus Aids in building strong  milk and dairy  muscle weakness,
bones and teeth. Activates products, fish, meat, loss of appetite,
vitamins for use. Needed poultry, egg yolks,  bone pain
to release energy from nuts, legumes, peas, 
food. Needed for trans- whole grains, 
mission of nerve impulses. processed foods

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.