UVA rays make up the majority of our sun exposure. These rays cause skin
aging and wrinkling while contributing to melanoma, the most dangerous form
of skin cancer. A tan that comes from UVA rays merely produces color and
does not protect the skin from further damage.
UVB rays cause sunburns, cataracts and immune system damage. They contribute
to skin cancer including melanoma which is thought to be associated with
severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20.
UVC rays are the most dangerous form of ultraviolet rays. These rays are
generally blocked by the ozone layer and don't reach the earth. However,
with the thinning of the ozone layer, UVC rays may become a serious health
risk in the future.
Unprotected sun exposure is additionally dangerous to those who have moles
on their skin, fair skin and hair and a family history of skin cancer,
With summer comes travel that can sometimes create dietary detours for even
the most savvy traveler. Airline menus and highway rest stops tend to ignore
the fact that the obesity rate in America is climbing to new heights. You
can avoid becoming a statistic by planning ahead. When traveling by air,
request a vegetarian meal. These refreshments often include fresh fruit
rather than processed, and usually contain a greater variety of vegetables.
If vegetarian meals are not your preference, bring your own snacks. Pack a
turkey sandwich or healthy granola bars that come in a variety of flavors to
satisfy your cravings. Even throw in a slice of angel food cake for dessert.
Re-circulating air in flight cabins often causes dehydration, so it's vital
to drink water as often as possible. Be sure to ask the flight attendant for
water to avoid dehydration associated with coffee, soft drinks or alcohol.
While on the road, avoid the temptation of vending machine stand-bys.
Instead, pack healthy snacks and drinks from home.
DRENCH YOURSELF IN SUMMER Making the Most of the Season
The sun sets at 9 pm, the thermometer never sinks below 70°F, and the smell
of your neighbor's fresh-cut grass is in the air. Summer is the most
wonderful time of the year to bond with friends and family over food and
drinks in the great outdoors. But, before you fire up your grill and
entertain your guests, sink your teeth into the following facts.
Approximately 127 million adults in the US are overweight, while 60 million
are obese. (According to the Body Mass Index, or BMI, one is considered
obese if his/her body mass index is greater than 30.) An estimated 400,000
deaths per year may be attributed to poor diet and infrequent physical
activity. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the
United States. (Cigarette smoking is the first.)
So, if you want to be a health-conscious host, here are a few tips to keep
in mind when entertaining guests this summer. Leave greasy hamburgers and
artery-clogging ribs at the supermarket. Lean turkey burgers with nominal
fat and calories, salmon, or tuna burgers are adventurous alternatives. If
you're passionate about red meat, choose lean cuts such as sirloin, rather
than chopped meat for hamburgers.
Strip the skin from chicken before you grill it and you'll avoid 150
calories and four grams of saturated fat. Packed with vitamins A and C, corn
is great on the grill, especially if you substitute light olive oil instead
of butter while grilling.
When you're planning to dine or picnic outside, take some precautions so
that your dining adventures are happy ones. Be mindful of the potential
hazards the blazing summer sun can cause on foods you plan to prepare, serve
and eat during the summer months. Here are a few common myths about food
Myth: It's OK to keep raw meat with other ready-to-eat foods, as long as
they are kept on ice.
Fact: Raw meat should be sealed securely in a zip lock bag away from fruit,
vegetables, and other prepared food, in order to avoid contamination.
Luciele White, Food Service Manager, at Trinitas Regional Medical Center suggests that
coolers should be maintained at 40° F or below to avoid bacterial growth.
"The temperature danger zone for food is between 40° F and 140° F. When
outside, meals should always be covered with a plastic wrap, foil, or lid."
Myth: Blackened vegetables cause cancer.
Fact: Although it is still unclear, research suggests that there may be an increased risk of cancer affiliated with charcoal grilling and broiling red
meat and poultry. Luciele explains, "It is believed that during the
grilling, broiling and pan-searing process, chemicals called Heterocyclic
Amines (HAs), are formed when high heat breaks down the amino acid, creatine.
While research shows that HAs cause cancer in animals, it is unclear whether
the amounts found on grilled meat may actually cause cancer in humans."
Grilling and broiling are still healthy methods of cooking; however, Luciele
recommends limiting grilling on a charcoal grill and avoid the burned or
blackened parts of meat and poultry. If those luscious grill marks are what
you crave, Luciele suggests precooking red meat and poultry in the oven and
then dropping them on the grill for only a few minutes to reduce the effects
of the HAs.
Finally, she suggests eating small portions of grilled meats with grilled
vegetables on the side to complete the main course. Keep ripe, refreshing
fruit on hand for all to enjoy.
There are even unseen health hazards hiding where we may least suspect them.
Sodas and sugary drinks, even those posing as "100% Real Juice," cause blood
sugar levels to spike and, in turn, a rise in insulin levels, prompting the
liver to turn sugar into fat. Skip these beverages and you'll be halfway to
beating the battle of the bulge.
If you're in a rush in the morning, grab a healthy snack to start your day.
At lunchtime, opt for a salad and avoid a gargantuan burger. You'll be
saving 760 calories and 47 grams of fat, to be exact!
Luciele White cautions that most calories in a salad come from the dressing.
When you pick up a salad "to go," pre-packaged salad dressings can help you
control how much you use. "Try to stick to lighter dressings that are
vinaigrette-based since cream dressings contain more calories." If greens
won't satisfy you, eat a meat-based sandwich that's either grilled or baked.
The sun is our main source of vitamin D for calcium for healthier bones.
But, it doesn't take the body long to absorb the vitamin D we need.
Unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin and eye
damage, immune system suppression and worst of all - cancer.
Although the general public is educated about the hazardous effects of
overexposure to the sun, skin cancer rates are on the rise. This increase is
attributed to a number of causes -- the most prevalent being the thinning of
the ozone layer. As a result, UV energy found in UVA, UVB and UVC rays can
penetrate the earth's surface more readily. In fact, by the year 2050, it is
speculated that there may be a 12-36 percent increase in skin cancer rates.
Dangerous sun exposure doesn't stop in the outdoors. A growing number of
Americans use tanning beds each year where they are exposed to harmful UVB
and UVA rays.
As awareness of the harmful effects of UVB radiation became well known,
tanning salons began to introduce tanning beds that emit mostly UVA light
sources. However, the safety of tanning bed exposure still exists and is
suspected to have links to malignant melanoma and immune system damage.
Joseph D. Alkon, MD, Chief of the Division of Reconstructive and Plastic
Surgery at Trinitas Regional Medical Center, has been witnessing skin cancers appearing in
younger patients - many who admit to frequent use of tanning salons. Dr.
Alkon is concerned by this pattern of behavior.
"I always instruct my patients on the importance of sunscreen, sun
avoidance, and I often counsel them on the potential dangers of tanning
beds," notes Dr. Alkon. "With an estimated 30 million Americans using indoor
tanning salons annually, I suspect we shall see an even more dramatic rise
in the number of skin cancers in the years to come, including the appearance
in an increasingly younger patient population who experience this type of
Dr. Alkon explains that it's still possible to achieve a healthy glow
without exposure to these potential dangers. "I recommend sunless tanning
sprays to my patients as a substitute for time in a tanning bed or
sunbathing outdoors," he notes. Many nationally marketed tanning sprays last
for several days. Some tanning salons also offer sunless tanning sprays; in
30 seconds, your body is sprayed with a tanning formula that remains on the
skin for approximately four days.
Protect yourself and loved ones from the devastating effects of ultraviolet
rays to ensure many more relaxing days in summers to come.