Isnin, 28 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Of Movember, moustaches, and men's health


A series of moustache-themed races will be held in different cities throughout November in aid of male cancers and other health issues.

THIS November, brands and charities are mad for the 'Stache With Movember, a month-long moustache-growing event that raises funds for male cancers and other health issues.

Around the globe this year, hordes of runners will participate in a series of 5K and half-marathon Movember races to celebrate the event, while fitness and yoga studios offer special deals to raise funds.

Moustache-themed races – the Moustache Dash, the Mo Run, the Mustache Dache – will take place in cities throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, where racers are invited to don real moustaches, fake ones, or moustache-themed clothing to help raise money for prostate cancer, among other causes.

Mo Running in the UK offers a Muddy Mo Run in Reading and a slew of races in Dublin, London, Glasgow, Manchester, and Cardiff. Registration for many events are still open. Check for details.

Even if there isn't a 5K in your area, you can sign up for Movember's MOVE project, by either hosting or attending an active event or making a month-long pledge to boost your physical activity – all in an effort to boost men's health.

"Sitting is the new smoking," according to Movember's New Zealand site. "The more often and longer you sit, the poorer your health becomes as your risk of disease increases."

To inspire men to move, fitness studios and Crossfit boxes around the globe are offering up special deals and events throughout the month, as are yoga studios hoping to draw in asana-curious men.

YogaTrail, a new website directory based in Thailand, is also launching a Yoga Dudes For Movember photo contest to help raise funds for men's health. Post a photo of yourself striking a pose (moustaches, fake or real, are required for men and women) via the Facebook app Yoga Poses Around The World and six winners will receive a gift box of yoga gear (for men) worth more than US$1,000 (about RM3,000).

Photographer Robert Sturman will also select 12 photos from the contest to feature in a Yoga Dudes 2014 calendar, with proceeds going to – AFP Relaxnews

Eating healthy, Laker-style


The Laker diet plan: Nope, they can't have fries with that... but they can have raw cheese, bone soup and grass-fed beef.

THE smell hit first, causing many on the Los Angeles Lakers squad to turn up their offended noses.

There, on the table in the locker room, were slices of organic Genoa salami piled next to a stack of pepperoni and deli meats, including grass-fed turkey and beef.

But it wasn't just meat; there was more. Raw sharp cheddar cheese. Raw almonds and cashews. Naturally fermented pickles.

That's right, pickles. And the briny green spears were the last thing these elite athletes considered eating before tipoff. Where were the more traditional fruit and peanut butter and jelly?

"I didn't quite do a double-take, but it was a little bit interesting," said veteran Lakers guard Steve Blake of his first glimpse of the new pre-game fare.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 10: Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers wipes his brow during warmups before a preseason game against the Sacramento Kings at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

Lunch for Steve Nash: Southwest-style grass-fed beef salad with cheddar cheese from grass-fed cows and black bean salsa; olive oil-based chililime vinaigrette and a bone stock-based soup.

Blake said that while he used to prefer his pepperoni on a pizza, the change was "definitely for the best."

The healthy platter of foods was the first step in the Lakers' redo of the players' eating habits. Inspired by Dr Cate Shanahan, a Napa-based, board-certified physician specialising in health, the Lakers have transformed their plates and palates, moving to a healthier, more scientific cuisine.

Gone are the fruit platter, low-fat Greek yogurt and peanut butter and jelly jars. In their place are platters of meats from grass-fed chickens and cows, nuts and full-fat chocolate milk from grass-fed cows.

"At first, some of the players would look at that and call a ball boy over and send them to the concession stand for a hot dog or hamburger," said Tim DiFrancesco, the Lakers' strength and conditioning coach.

"But guys started to pull me aside after the second or third game and say, 'Hey, that's not bad.'"

Not bad at all. In fact, it's all good for you. Shanahan said good-fat products and non-sugary foods are keys to proper training and overall dietary health, not just for the elite athlete, but also for everyone who seeks a longer, healthier life.

Shanahan said good health doesn't have to be complicated. She pointed out that the best diet for an athlete is the best diet for weight loss, heart health, cancer prevention and just about everything else. "It's simply a matter of common sense and old-fashioned cooking," she explained, drawing from her book Food Rules: A Doctor's Guide to Healthy Eating.

Convinced that her studies of nutrition and its effects on the body were valid, and eager to test her theories, Shanahan sent inquiries and a copy of her book to two NBA teams with rosters of older players. One of the books found its way onto the desk of Lakers head trainer Gary Vitti.

"The Lakers were having all these injuries, and my husband and I thought they would be ready for something like this," Shanahan said.

Vitti, disturbed by the rising number of injuries in the 2012 season, felt the same. Although he has seen his share of diet recommendations come across his desk, he was intrigued by Shanahan's philosophies.

"It reminded me of the way I was raised," said Vitti, whose parents are in good physical health at age 92. "My parents are from Italy (and) my mother always had a soup bone in the house, and our diet was in line with Dr Cate's philosophy."

Shanahan's philosophy is simple. Wholesome, natural, organically grown food coupled with grass-fed meats and dairy products – a diet everyone can follow.

Shanahan and her husband, Luke Shanahan, are passionate health-food advocates, having studied nutrition and the effects it can have on the body.

Shanahan's diet, outlined in her book, actually involves more than good food. Her diet contains the basics of the Atkins Diet (low in carbohydrates, little fruit, high in good fats) with a few elements of the popular Paleo plan (grass-fed meat, plenty of sprouted vegetables). But Shanahan also promotes eating fermented foods, such as pickles and sauerkraut, which contain probiotics, or good bacteria.

Midway through the season, Vitti turned over the task of changing the Lakers' eating habits to DiFrancesco, who joined the Lakers' staff in 2011. DiFrancesco is founder and owner of TD Athletes Edge, which offers high-level, research-based performance training for athletes and clients of all levels.

Despite his previous training and research regarding healthy eating, he quickly became a disciple of Shanahan's practices, recognising the benefits of her food rules.

Vitti said he decided to partner with Shanahan because her food rules were "backed by science". He and Shanahan they have developed a system called PRO Nutrition, which stands for Performance, Recovery and Orthogenesis.

"It's called that because those are the benefits," Vitti said. "Our players perform better because they are energised by the food they eat.

"The players recover better and keep inflammation down because they refrain from foods that are inflammatory to the body, and the diet benefits the articulating cartilage to their joints."

One of the hardest aspects of Shanahan's food rules to grasp is the reliance on good fats. Shanahan said good fats, such as butter and cheese from pastured cows, whole milk and bacon are crucial because bodies need fat to burn as fuel.

According to DiFrancesco, the type of fats in grass-fed dairy and meat products can actually help lower cholesterol and improve good cholesterol.

"It's not your typical diet," DiFrancesco acknowledged. "Most athletes and people in general are told that if you eat your veggies and eat your fruits and you eat all low-fat and lean meats or proteins you will be healthy. But you need your carbohydrates, too."

But only the kind of carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy, such as good fats, sprouted grains and breads. DiFrancesco said relying on the energy coming from carbohydrates and sugars, such as energy bars, is like building a fire with sticks and twigs.

"If you put a bunch together and light them, they would burst into flames and then die out quickly," he said. "Switch to good fats, such as proteins and nuts, and an athlete's energy level will burn longer."

So what exactly do these elite basketball players eat? Check out the typical menu selections for these Laker (and former Laker) favourites:

Breakfast for Kobe Bryant: Half a waffle with whipped cream and butter from pastured cows, a small amount of syrup and two eggs over-easy from pastured chickens.

Lunch for Steve Nash: Southwest-style grass-fed beef salad with cheddar cheese from grass-fed cows and black bean salsa; olive oil-based chili-lime vinaigrette and a bone stock-based soup.

Snack for Pau Gasol: Pasteurized Wallaby Greek Yogurt or St. Benoit Yogurt (full-fat version) with plain coconut and raw cashews, plus a Kombucha Tea (any flavor).

Dinner for Dwight Howard: Grass-fed beef short ribs, mashed sweet potato and broccoli, and sauce made with cheddar from grass-fed cows. – The Orange County Register/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Stop At One


October 20 was World Osteoporosis Day. This year's theme, 'Stop at One', aims to encourage all those who have had osteoporotic fractures to get treatment to prevent another fracture.

WHEN your bones become fragile and brittle due to a loss of its density, you are suffering from osteoporosis (OP).

Bone is made up of organic materiala such as collagen (a protein) and inorganic materials consisting of carbonated hydroxyapatite (calcium and phosphate salts).

The collagen provides the structural framework on which the minerals such as calcium are deposited.

When OP occurs, the bone starts to lose its mineral content, particularly the calcium, which then causes it to become weak.

These weakened bones are therefore more likely to fracture. Typically, osteoporotic fractures occur after minimal trauma at the spine (vertebral fracture), hip and wrist (Colles' fracture). For example, vertebral fractures can occur with daily activities such as lifting or pushing household items. Hip and Colles' fractures can occur after a fall.

Hip fractures are associated with between 8.4 and 36% excess mortality within one year, with a higher mortality in men than in women. Approximately 20% of hip fracture patients require long-term nursing home care, and only 40% fully regain their pre-fracture level of independence.

Morbidity is also increased following vertebral fractures, which may result in complications that include back pain, height loss and kyphosis (a hunched back).

Why do we get osteoporosis?

Bone is constantly being remodelled, with areas of damage ("microcracks") removed (bone resorption) and replaced with new bone (bone formation).

While we are young, and building our bones up to "peak bone mass", bone remodelling results in a net gain of bone, i.e. more bone formation compared to resorption, and our bone density increases. Up to 90% of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys; thus the teenage years are the best time for maximising bone gain.

There is continued gain in bone until the age of 30, when peak bone mass is reached. Following this, there is a very slight gradual loss of bone after each remodelling cycle, i.e. more bone resorption compared to formation.

For the ladies, at the time of menopause, there is a sudden reduction in the levels of the hormone oestrogen, leading to a period of increased bone loss for approximately the next five years, as oestrogen is responsible for reducing bone resorption.

OP occurs when bone density drops below a certain level, making the bone weak. This can happen either as a result of low peak bone mass (so there is less to lose before levels become critical), or when there is a period of rapid bone loss (such as during the menopause in women).

What happens after the first fracture?

Previous articles on OP have emphasised the importance of prevention and early treatment of OP, and this advice still stands.

If one bone is osteoporotic, then the whole skeleton is likely to be osteoporotic. Thus, after the first osteoporotic fracture, there is an increased risk of sustaining a second osteoporotic fracture.

So, preventing the first fracture is best. However, people do get osteoporotic fractures without prior warning. Once a fracture occurs, studies have shown that women with pre-existing vertebral fractures had approximately four times greater risk of subsequent vertebral fractures than those without prior fractures.

This risk increases with the number of prior vertebral fractures. Those women who have had a prior hip fracture have approximately 2.5 times greater risk of having a subsequent vertebral or wrist fracture. Women who have had a prior wrist fracture have approximately two times greater risk of having a subsequent vertebral or hip fracture.

Therefore, it is important to treat individuals after their first fracture to prevent the next fracture; hence the the slogan "Stop at One".

Does treatment reduce the risk of another fracture?

The answer is most definitely a "Yes". All registered drug treatments for OP have been shown to improve bone density and to reduce the rate of further fractures by between 30 and 70% depending on the medication and fracture prevented.

There are now many treatments available for OP; you have a choice of taking a daily, weekly or monthly oral medication, or once every six months or yearly injections. Most OP treatments should be taken for between three to five years for the best efficacy.

But despite the best of intentions, studies have shown that even after a hip fracture, not all patients get drug treatment. One study from Finland showed that only one in four women and one in 10 men with a hip fracture were treated for osteoporosis.

Another study from Italy showed only 33.9% of patients were given drug treatment after a hip fracture.

A small study from Malaysia showed that 31.7% received drug treatment for their OP after their hip fracture, and only for an average of three months, which is not enough to build up their bone density significantly.

Please see your doctor for further assessment if you or your relative has had an OP fracture and are not on, or have not had, treatment.

Let us aim for all patients with osteoporotic fractures to STOP AT ONE.

> This article is contributed by The Star Health & Ageing Panel, which comprises a group of panellists who are not just opinion leaders in their respective fields of medical expertise, but have wide experience in medical health education for the public. The members of the panel include: Datuk Prof Dr Tan Hui Meng, consultant urologist; Dr Yap Piang Kian, consultant endocrinologist; Datuk Dr Azhari Rosman, consultant cardiologist; A/Prof Dr Philip Poi, consultant geriatrician; Dr Hew Fen Lee, consultant endocrinologist; Prof Dr Low Wah Yun, psychologist; Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist; Dr Lee Moon Keen, consultant neurologist; Dr Ting Hoon Chin, consultant dermatologist; Prof Khoo Ee Ming, primary care physician; Dr Ng Soo Chin, consultant haematologist. For more information, e-mail The Star Health & Ageing Advisory Panel provides this information for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care. The Star Health & Ageing Advisory Panel disclaims any and all liability for injury or other damages that could result from use of the information obtained from this article.


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