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posted: 2/11/2013 6:00 AM

Your health: Snack on these healthy tips

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  • Eating foods that include a fat, protein and carb is a smart way to "combo snack."

    Eating foods that include a fat, protein and carb is a smart way to "combo snack."


Smarter snacking

Have you upgraded your snacks in the interest of more healthful eating?

It's a great idea to choose snacks wisely, says Harvard Medical School. But many foods that seem to be a great nutrition value aren't. Bran muffins and cereal bars can be packed with unhealthy fats and added sugar. Fat-free foods often contain lots of added salt and sugar.

Here are seven tips for smarter snacking.

• Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks, such as whole-grain low-salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high-fiber, whole-grain cereals, can give you some energy with staying power.

• Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be re-purposed as a nutritious snack later in the day.

• Try a "hi-low" combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something light, like apple slices or celery sticks.

• Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make a great snack. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts and others contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full.

• The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole-grain crackers (carbohydrate) with some low-fat cheese (protein and fat).

• Snack mindfully. Don't eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web or watching TV.

• Take it with you. Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your bag.

Overactive thyroid?

The risk of hyperthyroidism increases with age. The diagnosis of thyroid disease can be particularly tricky in older people, according to Harvard Medical School.

While older people can experience these classic symptoms, the following symptoms may also provide important clues to possible thyroid problems.

Depression. An older person with hyperthyroidism is more likely than a younger person with the disease to develop depression.

Heart failure. The heavy burden an overactive thyroid places on the heart can lead to heart failure -- a condition where the heart cannot pump blood effectively.

Atrial fibrillation. In one study, 35 percent of older people with hyperthyroidism experienced disorganized heart rhythms.

Excessive weight loss. A younger person with hyperthyroidism may experience some weight loss, but older people tend to lose even more weight, and may even appear malnourished.

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