Health Watch: Headaches, fiber and whole grains

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Which pill for a headache?

Which pill to take for a headache? For an adult, any over-the-counter painkiller should give relief. For children age 19 and younger, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is recommended since aspirin increases the risk of Reye's syndrome, a life-threatening disease that sometimes occurs after a viral infection.

Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) all have an anti-inflammatory action and are useful for sore muscles as well as pain and fever. Acetaminophen will reduce pain and fever but is not anti-inflammatory.

Whatever the medication, take no more than the label indicates. Using any over-the-counter pain medication more than twice a week can inhibit production of the body's natural painkillers and lead to rebound headaches.

Headache is not normal aging

A headache after age 65, of an intensity you've never had before, is reason to see a doctor. More than 15 percent of patients older than 65 who go to a neurologist with a new-onset headache are found to have serious illness such as meningitis, encephalitis, thyroid disease or hypertension.

Thirty-seven to 62 percent of brain tumor patients have a headache. One study found that in 77 percent of cases symptoms resembled those of a tension headache. Nine percent were like migraines.

Whole grains will keep you healthy

Look for the words "whole grain" on the label and have at least three servings a day. That's one of the government's new dietary guidelines, and it's an effective way of reducing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A serving is equal to a half cup of cooked cereal, a slice of bread or a cup of cold cereal.

"Whole grain" refers to the entire seed or kernel of grains such as wheat, oats, corn, rye or barley. Whether from these grains, brown or wild rice or popcorn, whole grains are rich not only in fiber, but nutrients that protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

A dark color or grainy texture does not necessarily mean a whole grain bread. The words "whole" or "whole grain" should be listed before the grain ingredient, and it should be the first item on the list of ingredients. Many cereals now come with a whole grain logo on the box; other products use a black-and-gold label shaped like a postage stamp to designate whole grain.

How to get more fiber in your diet

Dietary fiber, in addition to helping maintain bowel regularity, reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. The institute of medicine recommends 38 grams of fiber daily for men and 25 for women age 50 and younger (30 grams for men age 51 and older).

To increase your fiber intake:

• Start your day with a bowl of whole grain cereal.

• Switch to a whole grain bread, preferably one with at least three grams of dietary fiber per serving.

• Use more whole grain products such as brown or wild rice and whole wheat pasta.

• Eat more beans, peas and lentils. Add beans to soups or salads; snack on refried beans.

Comments

cashpotato 6 years, 9 months ago

Great article!

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grannyrett 6 years, 9 months ago

I hate it when a link is used to try to sell something! I was hoping for a good recipe to make some yummy muffins and got an ad!

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