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Timothy Mickleborough
Department of Kinesiology

Ruth C. Engs
Department of Applied Health Science

Harmony Heflin
Applied Health Science

Trent Applegate
Department of Applied Health Science

Living Well

Health tips from Indiana University

EDITORS: This monthly tip sheet is based on Indiana University faculty and student research, teaching and service. "Living Well Through Healthy Lifestyles" is the guiding philosophy of IU Bloomington's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. In keeping with that philosophy, this tip sheet offers information related to both physical and mental well-being. Faculty in other IU schools and departments also contribute their expertise in this area.

This month's tips discuss the impact of dietary salt and fish oil on exercise-induced asthma and holiday fare concerning responsible drinking and party hosting, pie and healthier baked goods, and safety gift ideas.

Diet can play a significant role in taming the wheezing and coughing caused by exercise-induced asthma, according to research by Indiana University Bloomington exercise physiologist Timothy Mickleborough. In a double-blind, randomized, crossover study involving dietary salts, Mickleborough found that EIA symptoms in asthmatics were greatly reduced after just two weeks of a salt-restricted diet. He found similar results in a study testing the effect of increased consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil. Mickleborough and his colleague's findings were published in several journals, including Sports Medicine and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. EIA is a condition in which vigorous physical activity triggers an acute narrowing of the airway after exercise, making breathing difficult. It can last up to 60 minutes and typically is treated with prescription medications. Up to 90 percent of people with asthma have EIA. It also occurs in around 10 percent of the general population without asthma. Mickleborough said dietary measures potentially could improve the performance of athletes with EIA, while reducing their reliance on medications, some of which are banned in international competition. Recreational athletes could see similar benefits. "There can be side effects with pharmacological interventions and medications, but not with fish oil supplementation or a salt-reduced diet," Mickleborough said. Mickleborough's dietary salt research focuses on the effect of sodium, which makes up 40 percent of dietary salt. Limiting one's salt intake to 6 grams or less a day -- compared to the average salt intake of 9 grams a day for most kids and adults -- could help bring about similar results, Mickleborough said. Many adults, he said, consume as much as 12 grams of salt each day. Reading food labels is an important part of this. Mickleborough said it also is important to consider the source of the fish oil. He used pharmaceutical-grade fish oil, which lacks impurities such as mercury and PCBs that can be found in fish oil supplements sold in retail stores, including health food stores. Fish oil that was not pharmaceutical grade produced unremarkable results. Mickleborough is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, located in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. He can be reached at 812-855-0753 and

Cheers to responsible drinking. The Holiday Season often brings joys and stress, with holiday celebrations offering more opportunities for alcohol consumption. Stress, along with the dark days of winter and even "holiday depression," can lead to increased drinking, said Ruth C. Engs, a professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University Bloomington. Engs' research has focused on addictive behaviors and the history of drinking and health reform cycles. Excessive drinking damages the liver and other organs, interferes with some medications, intensifies some medical conditions and impairs driving. Engs said holiday drinking and party planning can be handled in a responsible and sensible manner so fun and safety can be part of the holiday mix.

Tips for responsible drinking:

  • Know your limit. The rule of thumb is no more than one drink per hour. (A glass of wine = a can of beer = a shot of spirits).
  • Eat food while you drink.
  • Sip your drink -- don't gulp.
  • Accept a drink only when you really want one. If someone is trying to force another drink on you, ask for ice or drink a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Cultivate taste -- choose quality rather than quantity. Learn the names of fine wines, whiskeys and beers. Learn what beverage goes with what foods.
  • At a party, skip a drink now and then and drink a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • When drinking out, if you must drive home, have your drink with a meal. Remember, the liver can handle only one drink per hour.
  • Appoint a non-drinking designated driver. Take the taxi or bus services offered in some communities on New Year's Eve.
  • Don't consume alcohol with other drugs such as over-the-counter cold or cough medicines.

Tips for party hosting:

  • Plan people movement. Make sure people can move around and meet each other.
  • Pace the drinks. Serve drinks at regular, reasonable intervals. A drink-an-hour schedule usually means that good company prevails and you can avoid intoxication. Use small cups, mugs or glasses. Dilute the drink, such as mulled wine mixed with fruit juice.
  • Push the snacks. Make sure that people are eating along with drinking. Have plenty of high-quality snacks such as cheese, meats, nuts, etc.
  • Don't push the drinks. Let the glass be empty before you offer a refill.
  • Serve nonalcoholic beverages. Remember that many people do not drink, may be on medications or are recovering alcoholics.
  • Close the party. Decide, in advance, when you want your party to end. At this time, stop serving alcohol and serve coffee and a substantial snack. Coffee does not "sober up" intoxicated people and neither do cold showers. All you get is a "wide-awake and freezing drunk."
  • Don't allow intoxicated guests to drive home.

The Department of Applied Health Science is part of IUB's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Engs can be reached at 812-855-9581 and

Baked goods, friend or foe? The Holiday Season, with its abundance of sugary treats, need not be synonymous with deprivation or blown diets. Moderation and some baking substitutes can ease a guilty conscience and satisfy a sweet tooth, said senior Harmony Heflin, a dietetics major and vice president of the IU Dietetics and Nutrition Club at Indiana University Bloomington. "I really like using egg substitute for eggs," Heflin said. "They're cholesterol free and fat free. You still get all your protein from it. They're great." High-calorie ingredients can be replaced with more nutritious alternatives. The key, however, is to eat in moderation, Heflin said. "Try to limit grazing on holiday treats throughout the day by eating regular meals and sticking to designated portion sizes," she said. "Don't deprive yourself of treats, either -- eat what you like, but recognize when your craving has been satisfied." Below are some possible baking substitutions and a recipe for a healthier pumpkin pie. Heflin said the success of the substitution depends on the recipe. Some recipes do not tolerate substitutions. In others, the difference is undetectable.

  • Use egg substitutes or egg whites (2 whites = 1 egg) to reduce cholesterol and fat. Diets high in cholesterol and fat are associated with increased risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • Substitute up to one third of white flour with whole-wheat flour. This increases fiber and the nutritional value of baked goods. A diet high in fiber is associated with lower risk for coronary heart disease, reduced blood pressure, decreased levels of blood triglycerides and increased levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
  • Replace sugar with granular Splenda to reduce calories. Splenda is an easy alternative because the substitution is 1-to-1 and there is no obvious difference in the final product. Cutting down on excess calories typically found in holiday treats could save a pound or two; 3,500 extra calories equals one pound of body fat.
  • When making pie crusts, try canola oil instead of lard or butter. Canola oil is a mono-unsaturated fat that helps decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol. Lard and butter are saturated fats that may increase blood cholesterol and risk for heart disease.
  • Replace whole and 2 percent milks with skim milk and replace cheese with reduced-fat or fat-free varieties

Pie! (a "Heflinized" combination of a variety of pie recipes):

The filling:
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup granulated Splenda
2 tablespoons (Tbs) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons (tsp) pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
15-oz can pumpkin
* combine sour cream and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until blended.

The crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp splenda
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbs canola oil
2-3 Tbs 1% milk
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Combine flour, salt and sugar in small bowl. Drizzle in 1/4 cup oil while tossing gently with fingertips until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add walnuts. Pour in milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until small balls of dough form and stay together when pressed together. If dough seems too dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Pat dough into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure to bring dough up along the sides of the pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Cover with foil and bake in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove pie from oven, remove foil, add pumpkin filling, decrease oven temp to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks. Best if served the next day!

The Department of Applied Health Science is in IUB's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Heflin can be contacted at

Gifts that save lives. Instead of buying your Aunt Bernice or your Cousin Joe a generic gift likely to find its way into the attic, never to be thought of again, consider giving gifts that can save lives. Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and first-aid kits might lack the sparkle of the holiday season, but their message is clear. "It shows a definite sense of caring, from you to them," said Trent Applegate, a visiting lecturer in Indiana University Bloomington's Department of Applied Health Science. "It shows you want to help protect them." Applegate, who is in charge of the department's first-aid and emergency-care training, said the first-aid kits he has given as gifts have always been hits. Kits, which can be purchased pre-assembled or put together a la carte, can cost from $8 to $35. "I've given these as gifts, and everyone who's gotten one loved it," Applegate said. "They're good because they can be used in the car, at home, in the workplace. You can use them in a lot of different areas." Other safety-related gift ideas include gift certificates for safety courses, such as first aid and CPR training, offered by the American Red Cross, YMCA or other organizations that offer training programs. These organizations can be contacted to see if they offer certificates or other gift options related to health and safety. The American Red Cross chapter in Monroe County, Ind., for example, offers special gift baskets with food and gift items found in this southern Indiana community. Proceeds from the $45 baskets benefit the chapter. Applegate suggests including some or all of the following items in a first-aid kit:

  • Basic Band-Aids and gauze pads
  • Triangle bandage
  • Disposable gloves and a face shield to prevent disease transmission
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Topical sting-relief pads
  • Elastic Ace bandage wrap
  • Non-stick wound dressings
  • Adhesive tape
  • Roller gauze
  • Antiseptic towelettes and alcohol swabs
  • Antimicrobial hand wipes
  • Flashlight
  • Poison control materials -- Syrup of Ipecac, activated charcoal, Poison Control Center phone number (800-222-1222)

First-aid kit items to fit specific individuals:

  • Oral glucose or sugar packets for diabetics
  • Epi-pens for extremely allergic individuals (prescription required)
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen -- depending on preference and who will use the kit

Applegate can be contacted at 812-856-4009 and The Department of Applied Health Science is in IUB's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The American Red Cross Monroe County chapter can be reached at 411 E. Seventh St., Bloomington, IN 47408 and 812-332-7292.

For additional help with these tips, contact Tracy James at 812-855-0084 and