There are some very interesting items in health news so far this week. Take a quick look and find the topics most useful to you.
Your Nose Knows Good Fish from Bad Fish
Do you know if the fish you ordered is the fish on your plate? Most people don't, including me. But there are ways to be sure you get what you ordered. Ask the waiter what he knows about the fish of the day. If he knows little, skip the fish and get something else. A good quality restaurant will not pull a fast one by replacing a good kind of fish with a mediocre one. Also, if the price of the fish is too good to be true, order something else. Ask the server if the fish was caught in US waters where the health guidelines for it are stricter than in foreign countries. Of course, the best way to tell if a fish is good or bad is to smell it. Raw fish should not smell offensive no matter how strong its natural scent. If it smells bad, it is bad. This can be hard to tell in a restaurant. However, a good fish is never smothered so badly that you can't tell what kind it is. Question the server if your fish arrives smothered in a heavy sauce.
March is National Kidney Month
Do you know what your kidney does? They filter out toxins and extra fluid and help regulate good blood pressure for one thing. Most of us know a little bit about our kidneys yet know very little about kidney disease, which is the ninth leading cause of death in the US. Consider this: half of the people who have kidney disease are not told the organ is not working until it is too late and have to have a transplant or go in dialysis. Early screening is painless and can pinpoint problems before kidney problems become a major medical issue. Be aware of what your kidneys do and how to keep them healthy.
Movie Treats Are Not So Bad for Your Health
A small popcorn with real butter at the movie theater is not so bad for you. This is good news for those of us who cannot watch a movie without some popcorn. Some theater chains have healthier popcorn than others, but go for a small with real butter topping or no butter topping. A soft pretzel with no cheese is a healthy snack also. Both of the above are available at the concession stand. Sno-caps are the best for a chocolate goody. Nuts are also good for you and can be purchased in most drug stores before heading in to the theater to save some money. If you are really hungry go for a hot dog. It beats a plate of fully loaded nachos in fat and calories by a long shot. As in any situation where there is junk food, moderation is the key. Healthy eating can still be tasty while enjoying the latest hot film.
The Continuing Work-Life Balance Question
On a recent trip across the country, I met a woman from Denmark who commented that America is a country that is dog-eat-dog and work your people to the bone. I could not disagree with that statement. While Europe and other countries enjoy a very good balance of work and time off, the United States does not. On average, the American employee gets one week off after one year of work. The most given is 4 weeks and time does not roll over in the next year if not taken. By contrast, Europe and Scandinavian countries enjoy up to 6 weeks of vacation and the ability to roll over 2 weeks. Tele-commuting is common, especially in countries where pollution is bad. And there are some US employers who have more liberal paid time off policies but as a whole, we work our employees hard and barely give them the time off needed to recoup and renew. As a result, we become more stressed which affects our health costing us more in health care. The cost of doing business will go down if the cost of healthcare goes down when workers are given the time off they deserve for working hard day after day.