Health Tip

Health Risk Assessment

We offer this Health Risk Assessment link to EAP Work-Life Resources (external to our web site) for your consideration as a personal assessment tool. Official permission has been granted to Niceville United Methodist Church by EAP Work-Life to link to their site, July 2009.


December Health Tip

Short Walks Can Offset Damage From Prolong Sitting.

A study of healthy men between 20 to 35 years old examined the effects of siting for three hours verses walking on a treadmill for five minutes at a slow pace of 2 miles per hour after each hour of sitting. Prolonged sitting can cause blood to pool in the leg, which limit the blood vessels from expanding and impairs blood flow. This study also found that sitting for only one hour reduced the ability of the arteries to expand by as much as 50 percent. Walking only 5 minutes each hour offsets the damage caused by prolonged sitting.

Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, Sept 8, 2014


November Health Tip

Increased Potassium Intake Results in Lower Blood Pressure and Fewer Strokes.

A higher daily intake of potassium-rich foods results in a lower blood pressure and a lower incidence of an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked. It is death to an area of brain tissue resulting from inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the brain due to blockage. There was an 11 year study of 90,000 women age 50-79 that found a lower blood pressure and a 12% lower incidence of ischemic stroke because they had the highest intake of potassium-rich foods. The intake of these foods was 1925 mg – 3194 mg in this study. According to a 2012 study, fewer than 2% of American adults consume the RDA of Potassium (4700 mg.) Potassium-rich foods include fruits and vegetables such as: broccoli, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, citrus fruits, milk, and yogurt.


October Health Tip

Mediterranean Diet Effective In Prevention and Slowing Diabetes Progression.

A Mediterranean diet consists of mostly fresh foods that have gone through minimal processing; it also involves using herbs and spices for seasoning instead of salt. Two servings of fish or shellfish per week should be consumed on the Mediterranean diet. Fish and poultry should be consumed in place of red meat. Red meat is limited to only 12 to 16 oz. per month. An eight year study compared the Mediterranean Diet with at least 30% of calories from olive oil with a low fat diet containing less than 30% of calories coming from fat. At the end of the sixth year, all of the low fat participants were on diabetic medication compared with the olive oil participants who delayed diabetic medication until the eighth year of the study. People on the Mediterranean Diet tended to lose more weight, have less metabolic syndrome, went significantly longer before needing diabetes medication, and more of them had their diabetes go into remission.Bottom Line. A Mediterranean Diet consisting of lots of vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, poultry, and fish helps to control blood sugar which prevents and slows diabetes development and progression. (Diabetes Care, 18 April 2014)


September Health Tip

Walking One Hour Daily Improves Mobility
Source: Arthritis Care and Research, 12 June 2014

Walking at least 6000 steps daily improves your mobility and can also reduce the limitations for those at risk for knee arthritis or for those who already had knee arthritis. Walking not only builds muscle strength and flexibility, it also helps reduce pain. If 6000 steps sound like too much for you, they can be broken up throughout the day. The easiest way to keep track of your steps is through the use of a pedometer or cellphone app. For someone with knee arthritis who is just starting to exercise, it is recommended to set a goal of 3000 steps daily and build up as you get stronger.

August Health Tip

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Disability and Premature Death.

Normal levels of Vitamin D are necessary for optimal health. A meta-analytic study of more than 566,000 people from 14 countries concluded that people with low levels of Vitamin D were more than twice as likely to sustain a premature death as people with normal levels. A Netherlands study concluded that elderly people with low levels of Vitamin D are more likely to have mobility limitations and a decline of their physical functioning. There is a strong association between low levels of Vitamin D with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases. Wild salmon is one of the richest source of Vitamin D, but can also be found in milk and soy milk. American Journal of Public Health, June 2014 & Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, July 2013.


July Health Tip

Skin Cancer Awareness
(The American Cancer Society)

Summer is upon us, which means lots of fun and sun. As the summer sun intensifies, now is the time to be aware of skin cancer. Be sure to protect your skin with liberal application of sun screen and look for any unusual spots or lesions that may occur. Early detection is the best way to successfully treat skin cancer. Self-examination of your skin using the "ABCDE" method is highly effective.

  • Asymmetry: one-half of the lesion is not like the other half.
  • Border: the border or edge of the lesion is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.
  • Color: the color has variations of areas with different shades of tan, brown, black, white, red or blue
  • Diameter: bigger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving: it changes in size, shape or color. If you find something suspicious, it is best to take the next step and see your doctor. Keep the fun and sun in your summer by taking care of your skin.


June Health Tip

Do You Eat a Lot of Sugar?

If you have a sweet tooth it can lead to more than just cavities. A recent study showed that those who consumed 25% of their daily calories from added sugar (such as sugar containing drinks), gained more weight and had a much higher risk for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and death than those whose daily diets had less than 10% sugar calories. Our sugar consuption in 1900 was 5 pounds per person in a year. In 1999, the amount consumed was 158 pounds of sugar per person in a year. We need to reduce our consumption of added dietary sugar, especially sugar containing drinks so we can reduce a higher rate of heart disease and death.


May Health Tip

Poor Diet May Lead to Inflammation-Related Health Problems

Diets that are high in sugar and saturated fats will cause inflammation in your body. This inflammation will give you a 53% higher chance of dying early from all causes which can include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes to name a few. A new study of more than 10,500 people followed from 1987 through 2003 showed the results of a poor diet choices. To combat this trend, increase your consumption of plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains. It is never too late to make a change in your diet, so why not start today?


April Health Tip

Live a Longer Healthier Life with the Mediterranean Diet

Three recently published studies involving 10,000, 3500, and 800 people respectively found that those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had a 40 percent greater chance of surviving past age 70 with no chronic illnesses or physical or cognitive impairment. This diet focuses primarily on fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and less red and processed meats. Olive oil has significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may explain the findings of less heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic diseases. Bottom Line: Adopt the Mediterrean diet for significant reduction in risks for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.


March Health Tip

Walk More to Reduce Diabetes, Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
(The Lancet, 19 December 2013)

A recent Landmark Study of 9300 adults in 40 countries who were enrolled in a program that increased their physical activity and cut fat intake resulted in dramatic results. The study showed that for every 2000 steps (approximately 20 minutes) more per day that a person took than at the start of the study resulted in a 10 percent lower risk for diabetes (Type 2), heart disease, and stroke in subsequent years. This was an increase of physical activity up to the recommended 150 minutes a week. Every additional 2000 steps taken per day added another 8 percent lowered risk.

Another related study published in the Nov. 25, 2013 British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that exercise increased the odds of mental and physical healthy aging as much as sevenfold and that it was never too late to start.

Bottom Line. Changing physical activity levels by simply increasing the number of steps taken each day can substantially reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. This can simply be accomplished by walking the recommended 150 minutes each week.

February Health Tip

Take Aspirin At Bedtime For Better Heart Attack Protection
American Heart Association, 19 November 2013

A recent Dutch study involved nearly 300 heart attack survivors who were taking aspirin to prevent a second attack. During two separate three-month periods, half the patients took 100 mg of aspirin after awaking in the morning and the others took the same dose at bedtime. The results found that taking aspirin at bedtime reduced platelet activity more than taking it in the morning. Aspirin reduces platelet activity to decrease the clot formation and therefore reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Bottom Line: If you are taking daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes, take your aspirin dosage at bedtime.

January Health Tip

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Usually Has Early Warning Signs
American Heart Association, 19 November 2013

Cardiac Arrest is the result of the failure of its electrical system and causes the heart to suddenly start beating either very quickly and erratically, or extremely slowly. For those who have an event outside of the hospital, there is less than a 10% survival rate. It is a commonly held belief that when people suffer cardiac arrest, it comes completely out of the blue. A study of the population of Portland, Ore. assessed every man (more than 800) between the ages of 35 and 65 who had sudden cardiac arrest over the period of almost 12 years. The majority of the victims had chest pain between four weeks and one hour before the event. Others noted shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or heart palpitations. Bottom Line. Current recommendations for anyone having these symptoms – especially chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness – seek medical attention ASAP.

December Health Tip

Low Fiber Intake Increases Health Risks
American Journal of Medicine, December 2013

More than 23,000 adult’s fiber data intake was analyzed between 1999 and 2010. The study found that low fiber intake was associated with heart disease factors such as obesity, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome which places people at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains and was found in previous studies to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation. The Institute of Medicine recommends: 30 – 38 grams of fiber a day for men and 21 – 25 grams a day for women. Conclusion: Eating more fiber (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains) each day will decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

November Health Tip

After Dinner Walks Best for Lower Diabetes Risk
Diabetes Care, 12 June 2013

A study of people over age 60 at risk for diabetes took either a daily 45-minute walk or three 15-minute walks after meals. The walks began a half hour after finishing the meal. The blood sugar levels were monitored during the entire time of the study and they walked on a treadmill at a speed of three miles an hour (a 20-minute mile). The walks after meals reduced the 24 hour glucose levels the most and the walk after dinner was much better in reducing blood glucose levels then the morning or afternoon walk.

Bottom Line: Walking for 15 minutes after meals may lower your risk of diabetes better than a single daily walk of 45 minutes. If you can only walk one time each day, a 45-minute walk after dinner is better than in the morning or afternoon.

October Health Tip

Whole Fruits Lower Risk of Diabetes
British Medical Journal, August 29, 2013

Three studies between 1984 and 2008 involved fruit intake of nearly 190,000 people who did not have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. The people who ate fruits, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples at least twice a week were up to 23% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate them no more than once a month. The people who drank a serving or more of fruit juice a day instead of eating the whole fruit had a 21% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Conclusion: Eating whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples, instead of drinking fruit juice decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

September Health Tip

Less Salt and More Potassium Will Reduce Blood Pressure
and Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease
British Medical Journal, April 4, 2013

A review of three studies evaluated the results of over 100 previous clinical studies involving over 100,000 people. This retrospective review found that reducing dietary sodium and increasing potassium would significantly reduce an individual’s blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart disease. Potassium is found in most fresh fruits and vegetables as well as legumes, such as beans and peas. Decrease your intake of sodium and increase your intake of potassium to lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for stroke and heart disease.

August Health Tip

Quickly Recognize Signs of a Stroke

It is important to recognize the signs of a stroke and have prompt medical treatment for your best chance of a full recovery. Signs may include: sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs on one side, confusion and trouble speaking, dizziness, trouble walking, sudden vision loss of one or both eyes.

The acronym “FAST” should be used to help recognize a stroke and get prompt medical care. F – FACE: does the face look asymmetric? A – ARM: is one are weaker or limp? S – SPEECH: troubled or slurred speech? T – TIME: call 911 and see quick medical attention.

You can be proactive in your daily life to help prevent a stroke in the following ways: cut back on salt and sodium, eat a healthy diet, quit smoking and exercise.


July Health Tip

Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Drugs
(Hypertension, 22 April 2013)

A report on studies rating non-drug techniques for reducing high blood pressure was released by the American Heart Association recently.

Aerobic exercise, like brisk walking had the greatest effect. Weight lifting and synchronized breathing also scored well for effectiveness. Meditation and biofeedback also helped lower pressure but by a smaller amount. These methods are considered safe but should not delay appropriate medical treatment.

A surprising finding was that squeezing a hand-grip device daily for four weeks resulted in a 10% drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Bottom Line. Brisk walking and handgrip exercises are non-drug techniques that may be useful to help lower blood pressure.


June Health Tip

Nasal Saline Rinses mayReduce Ear Infections in Children
Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, April 30, 2010

Rinsing the nasal cavity with a saline solution has been shown to be an effective way to reduce allergy symptoms and sinus infections in adults

A recent study of children involved irrigating the nasal cavity four times a day, four days a week for a three month study. During this study the children in the treatment group had nearly 50% fewer ear infections than those in the control group.

Conclusions: Rinsing the nasal cavity in children may be an effective way to reduce the incidence of ear infections.


May Health Tip

Brisk Walking Beats Running for Heart Health
(Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 4 April, 2013)

An excellent retrospective study involving more than 33,000 runners and 16,000 walkers, between the ages of eighteen and eighty, reported in two other studies over a period of six years found that brisk walking beat running for heart health.

The study found an almost double reduction in the risks for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and risk for heart disease in brisk walkers compared with runners. Conversely, in another similar study it was found that runners lost more body weight than brisk walkers.

Bottom Line: Brisk walkers seem to have a lower risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease than runners. If your goal is only to lose weight, runners have the edge over walkers.

April Health Tip

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
(New England Journal of Medicine, February 25, 2013)

A study of nearly 7,500 men and women with no history of cardiovascular disease was conducted in Spain. Study participants did have risk factors for cardiovascular disease (diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, and were either overweight or obese). The study compared a Mediterranean Diet (rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and non-fatty fish) with a low-fat diet (low-fat dairy, bread, potatoes, fruits and vegetables, fish, limited oil, baked goods, nuts, or red and processed meats).

Results: After 5 years, there was a 30% greater reduction in cardiovascular events (heart attacks and strokes) in the Mediterranean group than in the low-fat group.

March Health Tip

Sugar Consumption and Weight Reduction (British Medical journal, 15 January, 2013)

A retrospective study of 71 previous studies found that cutting back on sugar consumption resulted in weight loss. The studies showed that there was a rapid weight gain occurring after an increased intake of dietary sugar; however, there was slow loss associated with a decrease in sugar consumption. The study showed that cutting back on sugar intake can help individuals lose weight and should be part of the strategy to fight the global epidemic. The studies included the sugar added by individuals and the sugar added by manufacturers and food processors called free sugars.

One of the major sugar additives that has been implicated in the obesity epidemic has been High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS has been shown to decrease hormones related to feeling satiated or full.

Bottom Line: Besides being active as part of an overall weight reduction program, overweight individuals should decrease their intake of added sugars, especially High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which is added to foods and beverages by food processors and manufacturers. Check the labels and if sugar or HFCS is listed as one of the first ingredients, dramatically limit your consumption or just don’t buy it!


February Health Tip

Dietary Legumes Improve Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure Levels
(Archives of Internal Medicine, October 22, 2012)

Lentils (Wiki Common Media; Justinc)A new study involving 121 patients with type 2 diabetes assigned half of the patients to eat one cup of legumes a day and the other half to whole-wheat products. After three months on this diet the legume consumers saw 50% better blood sugar and blood pressure levels than did the whole-wheat consumers.

Conclusion: Chickpeas, lentils, and beans may help control type 2 diabetes and blood pressure levels. This will ultimately help improve heart health. This would also be beneficial to people without diabetes.


January Health Tip

Natural Cough Medicine (Pediatrics, September 2012)

HoneyThe cold and flu season is now with us and along with these problems are associated coughs. A recently reported study of 300 children between the ages of 1 and 5 with diagnosed upper respiratory infections found that 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey can safely and effectively relieve the symptoms of night-time coughing caused by an upper respiratory tract infection. Honey was compared with three other over-the-counter cough and cold medications. Honey was determined to be the best treatment and provided the most relief with no potential side effects. Bottom Line: 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey is a safe and effective treatment for coughing secondary to upper respiratory infection.


December Health Tip

More Positive Studies About Calcium and Vitamin D
(Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, May 2012)
(New England Journal of Medicine, July 2012)
(Journal of Gerontology, May, 2012)

Three new studies showed positive results for elderly people who supplemented their diets with Calcium and Vitamin D. The positive results were:

  • Fracture Prevention (30%)
  • Increased mobility and ability to stay active (improved muscle function 30%)
  • Longer life (9% reduced mortality)
  • Lowered risk of colon cancer
  • Lowered risk of diabetes and high blood pressureRecommended Study Dosages:
  • Calcium under age 70 - 1000 mg per day
  • Calcium over age 70 - 1200 mg per day
  • Vitamin D - all ages - 800 to 1000 IU per day

Conclusion: Many studies have shown the positive benefits of supplementing the diet with 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day and 800-1000 IU of Vitamin D per day.

November Health Tip

Live Longer with This Red Winter Stew

Put the brakes on the ravages of time with a hearty and delicious bowl of chili. You’ll get plenty of zinc, thanks to the rich red kidney beans in the stew. And a new small study showed that zinc may help both prevent and reverse age-inducing damage to DNA.

Frightful FrayingZinc intake is so important to staying young that when middle-aged men in a study went from adequate zinc intake to zinc deficiency, they showed more breaks in certain DNA stands. And guess what happened when they were placed back on a zinc-rich diet? You got it – damage to DNA strands decreased significantly, suggesting that injured strands were repaired.The Deal with DNAYou want healthy DNA, because damaged DNA can speed the aging process and increase your risk for conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Zinc isn’t necessarily a fountain of youth, but the study results suggest that nearly 12 percent of Americans with a zinc deficiency may be doing their bodies a disservice. So how about that bowl of chili?

October Health Tip

Optimal Oral Hydration

(Dr. Andrew Weil, 18 August 2012)

Our bodies are two-thirds water. It is therefore vital to keep our bodies well hydrated. The standard recommendation for proper hydration is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. If one is exercising or sweating vigorously that amount of water loss must be additionally replaced.

Some of the benefits of optimal hydration are:

  • Optimal blood volume, blood pressure control, and heart function. Major transport system of the body.
  • Toxin elimination through the lymphatic system and kidneys and improved digestion by aiding proper stool consistency and removal.
  • Alertness. Necessary for optimal brain function.
  • Healthy skin.
  • Properly lubricated joints.
  • Optimal solubility of chemical and metabolic substances. A reactant in major chemical reactions.
  • Optimal body temperature regulation.

Bottom Line: Optional oral hydration is essential to optimal body regulation, function, and composition.

September Health Tip

A Simple Way to Increase Your Daily Exercise Walk
(Annuals of Family Medicine, June 2012)

Numerous studies have shown that walking is a proven exercise to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, falls, and depression.

Other studies have shown that the optimal amount of walking is 10,000 steps daily. This includes every step taken during the day such as at work, working in the yard, exercise, and etc. The study involved 330 seniors in New Zealand. The study found that the study participants nearly doubled their walking times and distances by simply wearing a pedometer.

Conclusion: pedometer based exercise programs elicit greater changes in walking time and distance than other programs. This is probably because users actually see how much or how little daily physical exercise they are doing.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at

August Health Tip

Resistance Exercise with Lighter Weights
(Journal of Applied Physiology, April 2012)
A recent study involving the amount of weight and number of repetitions affecting the leg muscles of young men doing resistance exercises three days a week was recently reported. The critical factor in muscle gain discovered by the study was doing repetitions to the point of fatigue whether using heavy weights or lighter weights. Therefore, doing more repetitions with less weight builds muscle and increases strength just as effectively as training with heavy weights but fewer repetitions.

Bottom Line: These findings challenge the widely held belief that using heavy weights is the best way to promote muscle growth and strength. It also points out that older people and people with medical problems such as arthritis have the option of resistance training with lighter and less-intimidating weights and still receive the benefits.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at

July Health Tip

Regular Teeth Cleaning May Decrease Your Risk for Heart Attacks and Strokes
(American Heart Association, news release, November 13, 2011)

Dental ChairOne hundred thousand people with no history of heart problems or stroke were followed for an average of seven years. Researchers found that those who had their teeth cleaned at least twice a year had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% lower risk for stroke compared to those who never went to the dentist. Protection was pronounced in participants who received cleanings at least once a year. Professional cleaning of the teeth reduces the growth of bacteria, which cause inflammation and can lead to the development of heart disease or stroke. Conculsion: See your dentist at least once or twice a year for a dental cleaning. For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at

June Health Tip:

Are You Taking Too Much Medicine?
(Annals of Long-Term Care, June 2009)

Medicine TrayThere is growing concern among a number of physicians and pharmacists that people are taking too many prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements which increases the chance of having drug interactions or side effects. The concept of taking more medications than one actually needs is referred to as "Polypharmacy".

Problems can occur in three key areas:

  • Drug Interactions: Medications can work against each other in strange ways
    increasing the risk for a negative effect on a person’s health.
  • Drug Side Effects: Every medication has a risk for numerous side effects. Multiple medications results in a multiplied risk. Once side effects develop, it is very difficult if not impossible to determine the causative agent.
  • Drug Compliance: The more medications a person takes makes it more difficult to comply with directions which can result in a serious health risk.
    Bottom line; review all of the information that comes with the medication that you are taking so that you can report any side effects with your physician. Discuss with your physician and pharmacist all of the prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements that you are currently taking with the goal of minimizing or eliminating any unnecessary ones.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at

May Health Tip:

An Apple A Day For Your Health
(Experimental Biology, April 2011)

AppleOne hundred sixty women, 45-65 years of age, were divided into two groups. One group was given an apple and the other group was given a prune every day for a year. The women eating the apples lowered their total cholesterol by 14%. Their "Bad" LDL cholesterol dropped 23% and their "Good" HDL cholesterol increased by 4%. There were also decreases in their C-reactive protein and lipid hydro peroxide which are indicators of systemic inflammation which increases the risk of heart disease.

Conclusion: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" or at least has significant health benefits.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter @ 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at

April Health Tip:

Women May Have Different Heart Attack Symptoms Than Men
(Journal of American Medical Association – February 2011)

A study involving more than 1.1 million men and women concluded that women (42%) experience a heart attack without chest pain much more frequently than men (31%). The standard heart attack symptoms include:
•Chest/left arm pain and discomfort
•Shortness of breath
•Nausea, sweating, and clammy skin
•Indigestion and/or stomach pain

Instead of chest or left arm pain 2 out of 5 women may only have symptoms such as:
•Jaw, neck, shoulder, or back pain
•Stomach discomfort
•Sudden trouble breathing

Conclusion: Women should be aware of these more elusive symptoms especially if they have risk factors for heart disease. If you feel that you might be having a heart attack, dial 911.

For additional information, contact Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at


March Health Tip:
A Simple Method to Help Lower Blood Pressure

(Hypertension Research, June 2005)

Lowering Blood PressureThe simple act of taking slow deep breaths can lower the systolic pressure (top number) at least 10 mm Hg.

Twenty thousand Japanese adults with both normal and high blood pressure readings were told to sit quietly and take six deep slow in-and-out breaths over the course of 30 seconds (5 seconds/breath). The blood pressure readings dropped dramatically and remained lower for a significant period of time.

The study points to the conclusion that slow deep breaths relax the blood vessels and the heart by calming the sympathetic nervous system.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at

February Health Tip: Higher Vitamin D Levels Improve Blood Sugar Control

(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2011)

Several of our past articles have shown the value of increased vitamin D blood levels. A recent study involving middle-aged men and women found that those who consumed the most vitamin D had lower blood sugar levels and fewer signs of insulin resistance.

PillboxMany other studies have suggested that vitamin D may help improve insulin sensitivity and may be involved in helping regulate insulin secretion from the pancreas. The study participants were receiving supplemental vitamin D consisting of 1000 international units (IU) each day.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter, 678-4411, ext. 130 or by e-mail at


January Health Tip:
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

(Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 1 March 2011)

BananasA meta-analysis of 247,510 men and women concluded that a diet containing 1.64 grams or more of potassium each day resulted in a 21 percent lower risk of stroke and heart disease. It also resulted in lower blood pressure which might be the protective effect of this dietary finding.
Five or more servings of fruits and vegetables will provide the amount of potassium necessary to achieve this result.

Good sources of potassium include:

  • Bananas and other fruits and vegetables
  • Fish, poultry, and dairy
  • Ounce per ounce – sweet potato and tomato paste


December Health Tip:
Prostate Cancer (Part 3 of 3)

A recent study appeared in the August issue of the Journal of Urology regarding side effects of prostate cancer surgery. One hundred fifty-two men undergoing standard and robotic prostate cancer surgery were counseled for twenty to forty-five minutes regarding the surgical procedure with a focus on the side effects such as incontinence and impotence. The procedure can lead to urinary incontinence, sometimes to the point where they need to wear padding, as well as impotence problems.

One year after surgery, forty-six percent reported that urinary incontinence and impotence was worse than expected. The remainder said their experience was about what they expected.

The significance of this study is that surgical removal results in a higher incidence of side effects than do the other treatment choices. Several studies have shown that IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) using Proton radiation has resulted in the lowest incidence of side effects compared to the other modalities of treatment.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130, or by e-mail at

FruitNovember Health Tip:
High Cholesterol?

Several factors may trigger High Cholesterol.

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute cites these risk factors that can be controlled:

  • Eating foods that contain too much fat and cholesterol.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Getting insufficient exercise.
  • Having a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia.


October Health Tip:
Prostate Cancer (Part 2 of 3)

Last month we discussed the facts regarding the incidence of prostate cancer in men. Here are some facts regarding symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

• The most common symptom – NONE
• Urine flow problems – starting, stopping, weak, and interrupted
• Increased frequency or urge – especially at night
• Erectile dysfunction
• Pain and/or burning while urinating or with ejaculation
• Blood in the urine and semen
• Recurrent, persistent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

• PSA (Prostatic Specific Antigen) blood test
• DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) Physical exam performed by Doctor
• Biopsy – Specimen removed by Doctor if indicated by PSA and DRE

There are many treatments available which include various types of surgery and radiation.
Each treatment has its advantages and disadvantages regarding cure rates and post-treatment side effects. In order to inform yourself about prostate cancer and the advantages and disadvantages of the various treatments obtain a copy of an excellent book: You Can Beat Prostate Cancer by Robert J. Marckini.

For additional information, contact: Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext 130 or by e-mail at

September Health Tip:
Prostate Cancer (Part 1 of 3)

We hear a lot about breast cancer in women; however, not nearly as much information is given about prostate cancer in men. So here are some facts:

  • Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer among men and the second leading Cancer death in men.
  • Each year approximately 230,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and approximately 35,000 die from this condition.
  • 1 of every 6 men will be diagnosed with the condition and 25% of these will be under the age of 65.
  • In the 1990’s over 350,00 men in the United States died as a result of prostate cancer. This is the same approximate number as the number of breast cancer deaths in women and three times the number of deaths from AIDS. This is interesting considering that breast cancer and AIDS receive 10-25 times the amount of research dollars.
  • Diagnosis is achieved through a simple blood test (PSA), a digital rectal exam (DRE), and if indicated a biopsy.


For information about support groups, contact Herstel Carter at 678-4411, ext. 130 or by
e-mail at

August 2011 Health Tip:

A Fiber-Rich Diet Improves General Health

(Archives of Internal Medicine, February 14, 2011)

FruitA recent nine year study involving 388,122 men and women concluded that those who ate the most fiber were twenty-two percent less likely to die during the nine years than those who ate the least fiber. The amounts of fiber ranged from 11 grams to 29 grams per day. Benefits of a higher fiber diet include:

  • Lower risk of heart disease, respiratory disease, and some cancers
  • Lower risk for diabetes and obesity
  • Normal bowel movements
  • Lower cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Promotion of weight loss and less inflammation

A high fiber diet can be achieved by a diet rich in high fiber fruits, vegetables,
and whole grains.


Health Tips are provided online by:
Congregational Care Ministry, Wellness Council.
Content used by permission.

Dr. Herstel Carter, Congregational Care pastor.


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