News Roundup: Holiday Food Safety Tips, High Resting Heart Rate Could Indicate Poor Health & More

Holiday Food Safety Tips

During the year-end holiday season, food is often the centerpiece of many family gatherings. Healthy menus and safe food preparation are important, according to nutritionists and medical experts. With the holiday season getting underway, the Florida Department of Health has issued safe-food handling tips for consumers.

“As you make plans to enjoy [holidays] with family and friends, be sure to focus on preparations for healthy eating,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong.

Food safety  is important because about 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from food-borne illnesses, with 128,000 requiring hospitalization, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Florida health officials recommend these food-safety tips:

Clean. Wash hands, utensils and surfaces before and after food preparation, especially after preparing meat, poultry, eggs or seafood. Be sure to keep all countertops and work areas clean with hot, soapy water;
Cook to Proper Temperature. Read the cooking directions on packaging before preparing. The safest thawing method is in the refrigerator at 40 degrees. Make sure the food is cooked at the proper internal temperature and check for doneness with a food thermometer;
Chill – Refrigerate Properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours. Make sure the refrigerator is set at no higher than 40 degrees and the freezer is set at 0 degrees; and
Separate – Don’t cross contaminate. Keep raw meats, poultry, eggs and seafood and their juices away from ready to eat food. It is recommended that leftovers be heated to 165 degrees.

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 –Sharon Harvey Rosenberg


High Resting Heart Rate Linked to Poor Health

Your heart rate at rest, which should be close to 60 beats a minute, could be an indicator of poor health if it is normally too high.

A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. However, a lower resting heart rate generally implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. Individuals who exercise frequently and are in good health, such as professional athletes, have resting heart rates in the 40 to 60 beats-a-minute range.

Researchers from China reviewed 46 individual studies that cover 1,246,203 participants. They found that people with a higher resting heart rate or pulse have increased risk of death stemming from all causes. The study does not conclude that a high resting pulse rest is a risk factor, but suggests that it is an indicator of poor health.

The research team  found that a 10-beat-per-minute elevation in the pulse increases mortality risk from all causes by 9 percent. The same change also increases mortality risk from cardiovascular disease by 8 percent.

The team also found that people with a resting heart rate of more than 80 beats per minute have a 45 percent increased risk for death from all causes. In comparison, those whose hearts beat between 60 to 80 times per minute at rest had an all-cause mortality risk that is 21 percent higher.

A 100-beats-per-minute pulse could indicated tachycardia, a condition which could lead to serious heart problems. A rapid heart rate also increases the risk of dying from heart disease.

Researchers emphasized that the study highlights the importance of monitoring your pulse and the significance of exercise to decrease the resting heart rate. The study was published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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— By John Fernandez

Breastfeeding Gets Another Nod, Lowers Diabetes Risk

It’s long been proven that breastfeeding can lower a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and now research shows it can lower the chance of diabetes.

In a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Child Health and Development, researchers followed more than 1,000 women who had developed gestational diabetes to see  how breastfeeding affected their insulin levels after giving birth.

The study found that the women who breast fed their infants for more than two months had lower incidents of type 2 diabetes. Results of the study published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers believe lactation slows pancreatic cells, allowing the body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. This means a decreased demand for insulin, helping to ward off diabetes.

Women with gestational diabetes are seven times more likely to develop lifelong diabetes after childbirth. Breastfeeding can reduce the risk to 50 percent, the study found.

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— By Tanya Racoobian Walton

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