Search Term: " Hear-Healhy "
Honeybush tea is a nutrient-rich, antioxidant-filled, heart-healthydrink from South Africa
May 03, 2019 04:06 PM
South African honeybush tea is made from a plant called Cyclopia intermedia and provides a diverse mix of health benefits. In addition to providing many important minerals, honeybush also contains a very wide range of antioxidants, including flavones, polyphenols, flavonoids and many others. It also contains compounds with expectorant and antimicrobial effects that can help ward off colds and other minor infections. Animal studies suggest honeybush tea also helps prevent your body from storing as much fat, and assist in burning the body fat you already have.
"Drinking a cup of honeybush tea can provide the body with minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-01-honeybush-tea-a-nutrient-rich-heart-healthy-drink.html
Eating more fennel keeps your heart healthy â?? especially when consumed regularly
July 07, 2018 09:54 AM
If you want to lower your chances of getting cardiovascular disease, exercise will go a long way toward helping you reach that admirable goal. In fact, an active exercise routine can lower hypertension and also other chemicals in your body that are responsible for many chronic conditions, like diabetes. However, for a small few, exercise won't significantly help them fight it so many are turning to fennel for its many benefits including its lowering of antihypertensive in people.
"For this study, the researchers trained their eyes on the fennel or Nigella sativa (NS)."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-05-eating-more-fennel-keeps-your-heart-healthy-especially-if-you-take-them-regularly.html
Prevent vision loss by protecting your heart with a healthy diet
May 03, 2018 09:17 AM
The amount of those suffering from eyesight across our nation is expected to reach over a staggering 22 million by the year 2050. Many physicians are now recommending that their patients adhere to healthier diets in order for the odds to be in their favor when it comes to keeping their eyesight long-term. It is important to eat healthy foods due to them being high in antioxidants which can help fight harmful bacteria in our body that can lead to disorders that cause vision loss.
"Joshi’s colleague, Dr. Nancy Kunjukunju, M.D. gets even more specific. She states that a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle are essential for those who are afraid of getting AMD because the disease runs in the family."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-05-01-prevent-vision-loss-by-protecting-your-heart-with-a-healthy-diet.html
Radicchio: The Vitamin K Vegetable that Supports the Heart & Bones (And Kills a Common Parasite!)
May 15, 2017 03:44 PM
Many people have not heard of radicchio, and if they have, they don't really know what it is, let alone use it for their own consumption. Radicchio is a leafy vegetable that can be used in many salads or other recipes. It has a somewhat spicy radish flavor. It has many health benefits including fighting cancer cells, creating stronger bones and being good for the heart. It is also loaded with antioxidants and actually gets rid of some parasites. So load up and fun tasty ways to use this helpful vegetable.
"Radicchio also contains a large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are specifically known as the antioxidants responsible for keeping your eyes healthy."
Read more: https://draxe.com/radicchio/
10 Healthy reasons to add flax seed to your diet
May 03, 2017 12:29 PM
Flaxseed has been cultivated in the US since the earliest colonists used it to produce textiles. However, modern research has shown that the health benefits of adding flaxseed to your diet are significant and numerous. High nutrient content, including fiber, protein, and heart-healthy omega-3s, great control over blood sugar and satiety, and a good source of anti-cancer lignan compounds all make flaxseed an important part of a healthy diet. It isn't just a superfood: it also makes a great ingredient!
"Years of research have shown that flaxseed and its byproducts contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals, making the crop a staple superfood in various diet schemes"
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-28-10-healthy-reasons-to-add-flax-seed-to-your-diet.html
Fish Oil Supplements: Are They Good for Cardiovascular Health?
March 23, 2017 08:44 AM
Conventional wisdom has long been that fish oil supplements are very beneficial for heart health. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends fish oil for heart patients. However, there is some disagreement about the effectiveness and safety of fish oil. Read this article and discover 3 reasons why some data may be flawed regarding this supplement along with concerns regarding safety of some fish oil. In the end, eating fish may be more heart-healthy.
"Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which, when consumed by eating fatty fish, can cause blood vessel relaxation, reduced blood clotting, reduced inflammation and possibly stabilization of heart rhythm."
Read more: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/03/fish-oil-supplements-good-cardiovascular-health/
Medical News Today: Is shrimp high in cholesterol? Nutritional and heart health information
March 02, 2017 02:59 PM
Shrimp are rumored to be unhealthy and elevate your cholesterol. Rest assured, shrimp and other shellfish are nutritious foods that can play a part in any diet. Shrimp are packed with minerals, so this needs to be considered as a part of some diets that restrict minerals such as sodium. As with all foods, shrimp can be cooked in both healthy and unhealthy ways
"One serving of shrimp contains 189 milligrams of cholesterol, which translates to roughly 60 percent of the total recommended amount of cholesterol per day."
8 Heart Healthy Foods You Need Every Day
February 24, 2017 02:59 PM
What you eat has a huge effect on your body. Food can do a lot for your body. While there is food you should eat, there are a few that should be consumed every day. Yogurt, watermelon and tomatoe are just a few of the so called super foods you should be eating every day.
"While many people are enamored by Valentine’s Day, health experts take the time to remind us that we need to take care of our heart. One way is to start eating heart healthy foods."
5 Heart-Healthy Breakfast Ideas Other Than Oatmeal
February 19, 2017 07:59 AM
There are five heart healthy breakfast ideas and they do not include oatmeal at all. People who eat breakfast everyday are said to have less of a chance of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The people who skipped breakfast were found to be obese and have poor health a lot of the time. Wheat berries are one food to eat in the morning.
"Oatmeal is a mainstay of most heart-healthy diets."
Omega-3 fatty acids and heart health
January 26, 2017 07:59 AM
One of the best ways to give you better heart health is to adopt a diet of healthy fats in place of unhealthy ones. Omega-3 fatty acids are the healthiest fats to put into your body because they lower triglycerides and improve HDL levels. They have other benefits, but studies have shown that having diet high in omega-3s decreases blood pressure and keeps arteries clear. Two servings of fish a week is a great way to get the desired daily amount of this compound, but supplements can also be used.
"Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels and increase high-density lipoprotein (i.e., good cholesterol) levels. They may also decrease platelet aggregation, which can prevent the coronary arteries from occluding"
Health and Fitness: 10 Plant-Based Proteins
January 15, 2017 10:59 AM
If you are looking for a way to get protein but want to protect the environment at the same time, then look no further than plant-based proteins. There are ten different types of plant-based proteins that you can include in your diet without having to worry about harming the environment. They are lentils, hemp seeds, quinoa, chia seeds, edamame, nutritional yeast, tempeh, black beans, spirulina, and chickpeas. These types of proteins are believed to help you maintain a healthy diet.
"These ancient seeds are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in immense health benefits for both your brain and your body."
Clear heart blockages with this powerful lemon and garlic mixture
November 05, 2016 07:59 AM
You or someone you know has been or will be affected by problems with their cholesterol. This is one of the leading causes of heart blockages but some simple remedies could help clear the passages and give you a more life to live, if you aren't a vampire!
"If you are one of the millions of people struggling with high cholesterol levels, regular exercise, eating a heart-healthy diet and losing weight are all it takes to lower them."
What are the Health Benefits of Beta-Glucans
December 22, 2014 04:54 PM
What are Beta-glucans?
Benefits of beta-glucan
Beta-glucans are use for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and high cholesterol. Beta-glucans are also use for boosting the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakens by emotional or physical stress, chronic fatigue syndrome or by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. Beta-glucans are also used for ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, aging, H1N1 flu, Lyme disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, ear infections, rheumatoid, asthma and crohn's disease.
Signs of Low Blood Sugar
November 08, 2013 09:36 AM
Types of Low Blood Sugar
If you live with or know a type 1 or type 2 diabetic, then you should be aware of the signs of low blood sugar so that you are in a position to help if and when an emergency arises.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects nearly 8 percent of the United States population, according to the American Diabetes Association. The disease is characterized by the absence of insulin in the bloodstream (type 1 diabetes) or the body's inability to utilize insulin effectively (type 2 diabetes).
Since insulin is the mechanism that allows glucose in the bloodstream, known as blood sugar, to provide food for the brain and energy to the body's organs and cells, diabetics must inject insulin or take other oral medications to counteract any insulin deficiency. All diabetics must also follow a daily regimen that includes a heart-healthy diet and plenty of physical activity to help regulate blood sugar levels.
About Blood Sugar
Normal blood sugar levels are 70 mg/dl to 120 mg/dl. If a diabetic consumes too many carbohydrates or doesn't take enough insulin, blood sugar levels can run high, resulting in a condition known as hyperglycemia. Blood sugar levels below 70 mg/dl is considered hypoglycemia, a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, there are several initial signs of low blood sugar that help the diabetic and those around them know that a medical situation is arising.Causes of Low Blood Sugar
Some causes of low blood sugar are under a diabetic's control, including: insufficient carbohydrate consumption. Consuming alcoholic beverages. Prolonged strenuous physical activity. Other causes of hypoglycemia can catch a diabetic by surprise: Mental or emotional stressSevere or prolonged illnessSigns and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Most diabetics are able to identify the signs of low blood sugar fairly quickly and treat it before the condition becomes serious -- but not always. If someone's blood sugar levels normally run between 100 mg/dl and 120 mg/dl they might feel the onset of low blood sugar symptoms when they near the 70 mg/dl mark. Diabetics whose blood sugar levels are usually on the lower end of the spectrum, like in the 70 mg/dl to 80 mg/dl range, may not begin to feel symptoms of hypoglycemia until their blood sugar levels are already dangerously low.
The onset of symptoms usually includes:
July 08, 2009 10:50 AM
The headline "Doubts over heart claims of omega-3 fats" was published in March of 2006 in the world's largest international news agency, Reuters. This article reported on the findings of a study on omega-3 fats and heart health, which published the exact same month in the British Medical Journal. The article found in Reuters claimed that the systematic review of 89 studies led to the conclusion that there was no substantive evidence that omega-3 fats actually protected individuals against cardiovascular disease or cancer. The New Zealand Herald picked up this article and announced that the heart-healthy advice to eat more oily fish was incorrect, as it advised its readers to put fish oils on the top of the list of medical beliefs that turned out to be myths.
In actuality, the omega-3 investigation, conducted by Lee Hooper and coworkers at the University of East Anglia School of Medicine, was a meta-analysis, as it combined data from several available clinical trials. Meta-analyses are highly speculative due to the differences in the scientific protocols between the included studies, which can lead to difficulty in exposing a common factor. A good meta-analysis is often useful to put contradictory evidence into perspective. However, a poorly designed analysis can lead to bad science and faulty conclusions.
This Hooper analysis was a review of 48 randomized controlled trials, along with 41 cohort studies. However, the investigation only used as few as 15 controlled trials and 3 cohort studies in compiling the data. Included in this analysis were studies that had very small sample sizes and provided little data on the effects under investigation. Extremely low death rates in several of the studies that were included worsened the situation, which resulted in a very large confidence interval and a lower analytical power than what was expected. Additionally, there was a large degree of difference among the included studies. Some of them had death rates in their control groups as low as 0.5%, while others had extremely high control-group death rates exceeding 15% and 22% in two cases. This fact indicates that there were large disparities in the health of subjects. This much heterogeneity among subjects requires a high degree of analytical power in order to produce meaningful results. This was something that the Hooper study lacked.
When addressing the above issues, the authors of the study pointed out that “there were too few events such as deaths, associated cardiovascular events, and incidences of cancer to rule out the possibility of important effects from various interventions.” This basically means that the numbers produced in the study produced results that didn't show much of anything. In a case like this, a person should be extremely cautious as to dismissing a possibly association based on negative results. Dr. Mike Knapton, the Director of Prevention and Care for the British Heart Foundation cautioned the public that they should not stop consuming omega-3 fats or eating oily fish as a result of this study. The wise advice given by Dr. Knapton, however, was not enough to stop the media from fabricating stories and devaluing the necessity for omega-3 fats.
The fact is that omega-3 when taken on a consistent basis can help reduce cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Look for high quality omega-3 fish oil that is molecularly distilled at your local or internet health food store. Always select name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Omega-3 fish oil is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Beyond Bran Fiber
December 25, 2007 08:35 AM
At one point in time, when you went to the health food store you usually only had choice of wheat bran, which is a good source of the insoluble fiber that helps your digestive system stay on track, or oat bran, which contains the soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Although both of these bran’s are still popular, as they have good reason to be, remaining excellent sources of dietary fiber, these days store shelves are gathering more and more fiber supplements ranging from encapsulated forms to powders and specialized to deal with a variety of health concerns.
Insoluble fiber has the ability to draw water into the intestines, preventing constipation and keeping waste matter from decaying within the body. However, it is the many types of soluble fiber that science has recently started investigating for health benefits. Part of soluble fiber’s value is closely related to its mechanical action, as it forms a thick gel within the digestive track that moves slowly to stop sugar from entering the body too quickly, therefore, helping to keep glucose levels down and carrying some fat and sugar out of the body completely. Additionally, when soluble fibers gel up it helps to reduce blood level cholesterol by trapping bile preventing the bile from doing its action (breaking down fats in the digestive tract so the body can absorb it). Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber undergoes fermentation inside the colon to produce fatty acids that do a little bit of everything, including: helping the body digest food, protecting against polyps, stimulating immunity, increasing mineral absorption, and helping to keep cholesterol and glucose levels in check.
Soluble fiber is getting large amounts of research reviews. One study concluded that people who ate the least fiber are 63% more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is an inflammation marker that is associated with cardiovascular risk. Another study proved that flax seed improved glucose control. Another fiber source, psyllium, has been shown to bring relief to people with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory intestinal disorder.
Flax seed and psyllium are two of the best known types of soluble fiber available, but there are other types that aren’t as well known. Others including arabinogalactan (AG) have been shown to have a special affinity for natural killer cells. Beta-glucans are another form of fiber that can help boost immunity. Lignans, which are found in flax, have been shown to cause lower breast-cancer rates. Fenugreek is a spice that is rich in galactomannan, a heart-healthy fiber. Some fiber formulations pair up different kinds of fiber with complementary herbs. An example of this is Garcinia cambogia and Gymnema sylvestre, which can be used for glucose control; or astragalus, Echinacea, olive leaf, and shiitake to assist the immune system. Some supplements even provide natural enzymes which help prevent bloating.
It is, of course, important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. However, thanks to supplementation that is designed specifically for certain health concerns, it has become much easier to find the additional fiber that is needed by your body, no matter what kind of fiber that is. A large selection of fiber bran supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Heart Health - Heart-Healthy Herbs & Tonics
June 30, 2005 09:39 AM
Heart Health By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Heart attacks and other circulatory problems head the list of modern day health threats. Care of the heart includes proper diet, exercise and effective handling of stress. An ideal way to provide nourishing support to the heart and related organs is through the use of herbs. Herbs have been used throughout history as part of a heart-healthy program. (Note that the well-known prescription heart medication, digitalis, was originally extracted from the herb Foxglove.) They provide a wide range of medicinal benefits not only for the heart, but for heart-supportive organs and related body systems as well. Herbs help the heart in several ways. Some are “tonics” for the heart and cardiovascular system. Others specifically aid with circulation. In addition, many herbs contain relaxing properties, which help decrease the negative effects of stress. As we frequently see in the herbal kingdom, there is often an overlap of therapeutic benefits between herbs, ultimately benefiting the user! Furthermore, combining herbs can have a more powerful or synergistic effect – meaning that the blend of two or more herbs is even more beneficial than the actions of any single herb!
A tonic herb is one that aids the body in a non-specific, balancing fashion, usually over a long period of time. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers tonics to be the most important class of herbal remedies, often called "superior" medicine.
First and foremost of the heart tonics is the European herb, Hawthorn, traditionally used in England to decorate the maypole. Hawthorn has a normalizing effect upon the heart, improving cellular metabolism while strengthening the heart's contractions, thereby improving the rate of blood flow throughout the body. It also helps maintain the integrity of the venal and arterial walls, as well as exhibiting anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Hawthorn is without a doubt the best long term heart tonic, useful for a variety of imbalances and for maintaining overall cardio-vascular health. An ideal formula for Hawthorn is Nature’s Answer®’s Hawthorne Berry, Leaf and Flower liquid herbal extract supplement (alcohol- free, organic alcohol).
Other herbs offering tonic actions to the heart include Astragalus and Dong Quai, especially when used together. Well-known as an immune tonic, Astragalus has been used traditionally to support the heart, and is considered one of the "superior" Chinese herbs. Its properties help lower blood pressure while increasing endurance. Astragalus’s ability to stimulate the body’s circulation is further enhanced when combined with Dong Quai, an herb traditionally used as a “blood builder”. Nature’s Answer® offers both herbs in alcohol-free and organic alcohol liquid herbal extract forms.
Any discussion of support for the heart would be inadequate without mentioning the essential and nourishing benefits of bio-flavonoids. Bio-flavonoids have the specific ability to regulate the permeability of capillaries and increase the strength of capillary walls. They are powerful anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers. Nature’s Answer® offers an outstanding bio-flavonoid formula -- Bio-Flavonoids & Rose Hip (organic alcohol), a truly tangy and delicious liquid supplement.
Other Heart-Healthy Herbs
Cayenne (a hot red pepper), has a long history of use to support the heart in many cultures. Best known as a potent circulatory stimulant (making it very useful for cold hands and feet), cayenne strengthens the heart, arteries and capillaries. This herb is added to many formulas to act as a "carrier" herb, which helps deliver active constituents to the body. Nature’s Answer®’s Cayenne liquid herbal extract formula (organic alcohol) is a powerful supplement for Cayenne support. Another overlooked herb for the heart is Cactus Grandiflorus found in Nature’s Answer®’s Cactus Grandiflorus liquid herbal extract supplement (organic alcohol); (new name: Night Blooming Cactus Formula). This herb, also called Cereus Grandiflorus, is a cactus flower extract that is useful to strengthen a weak heart and regulate irregular heartbeats.
Ginkgo Biloba, an herb well-recognized for its support of brain functions, has applications in maintaining the cardio-vascular system. It acts as both an anti-oxidant and circulatory stimulant. Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation, especially to the small venules and arterioles, including those which nourish the heart directly. An exceptional supplement featuring Ginkgo Biloba would be Nature’s Answer®’s Ginkgo Leaf liquid herbal extract formula (alcohol-free, organic alcohol).
Ideal Stress Reducers
Linden or lime blossom, another herbal remedy from Europe, provides nutritional support for the cardio-vascular system with a relaxing action on the arteries of the heart. Linden is useful with muscular tension and tension headaches as well. This makes it an excellent herb for heart difficulties relating to stress or anxiety, such as hypertension. You can find this herb in Nature’s Answer®’s Linden Flower liquid herbal extract (organic alcohol). Motherwort, as found in Nature’s Answer®’s Motherwort liquid formulation (organic alcohol), is yet another herb that has a long history of use for the heart. As a relaxing nervine, it may be particularly helpful in situations where anxiety or tension may affect the pulse.
As stated earlier, herbs used in combination can have a more synergistic, or powerful effect than when used alone. Nature’s Answer® offers an array of outstanding combination formulas for heart support. One such product is called Hawthorne CT (alcohol-free; new name: CardioNutriv™), a unique liquid herbal extract featuring Hawthorn, Linden and Cayenne herbs. TenseEase™(alcohol-free) is a second formula that blends Hawthorn and Linden with other stress relieving herbs.
As you see, liquid herbal extracts can be wonderful natural adjuncts to your program of sensible eating and exercise. Nature provides many useful herbs to support, nourish and protect the heart, heart-supportive organs and related body systems. Ultimately, remember to smile, relax and breathe deeply -- it'll do you and your heart a world of good!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The A Team
June 14, 2005 06:04 PM
The A Team
by Gregory Meade Energy Times, October 11, 2004
Want the A Team playing to improve your health? When you accumulate enough antioxidants to help you attack the molecular marauders out to mar your well-being, you improve your chances of avoiding illness.
Nowadays you hear plenty of talk about the benefits of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are the ammunition the body uses to fight off internal damage. They offer the body the means to fight against disease but, at the same time, your body must be in the position to use them optimally. That means getting enough sleep, consistently exercising and avoiding overly processed foods. Those lifestyle habits allow your body to garner its resources and effectively implement antioxidants in its quest for well-being.
Your body has a love-hate relationship with oxidation: Can't live without it, often has trouble living with it. For instance, the production of energy in your cells requires oxidation. But the byproducts of that process, problematic molecules called free radicals, have to be chemically changed or eliminated to avoid the damage that results when they interact with other parts of the cell. Left unchecked, these molecular troublemakers can wreak havoc, oxidizing and punching holes in cell membranes and damaging other structures they contact. Antioxidant nutrients are used to defend against oxidation, quell these harmful destroyers and limit the potential harm they can cause.
For a quick glimpse of one of your basic antioxidant defenses, look in the mirror. The color in your eyes represents antioxidant protection against oxidative injury from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Sunlight's energy sets loose free radicals every time it enters the lenses in your eyes. Pigments absorb this radiation and, in most cases, render it harmless.
As part of your vision's defenses, two of the antioxidant pigments in your food, lutein and zeaxanthin, are deposited by your body in certain areas of your eyes-in a section called the macula as well as the lens (BJ Opthalmol 1998; 82:907-10).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids, chemical relatives of beta carotene, the antioxidant pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, the anticancer red coloring found in tomatoes. These fat-soluble nutrients are also present in algae. In both your eyes and plants, these nutrients absorb the destructive ultraviolet rays that give birth to free radicals.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of these pigments lowers your risk of a common form of blindness called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and drops your chances of age-related cataracts. (More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from ARMD, and cataracts is the leading cause of blindness across the globe.)
When the sun's rays enter the eye, lutein and zeaxanthin absorb and filter out dangerous radiation before it can injure the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that allows us to see very fine detail. Otherwise, over time, as the macula deteriorates, our vision worsens. In addition, some researchers believe these nutrients help lower your chances of cancer.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, collard greens, green beans, egg yolks, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, kiwi and honeydew melons. The petals of yellow flowers like marigolds and nettles are also rich in these antioxidant nutrients.
You can also increase your chances of better sight as you age by consuming sulphoraphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that sulphoraphane takes part in the body's efforts to shield eye cells from free radicals generated by ultraviolet light (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004; 101(28):10446-51).
The researchers who performed this study believe that unlike the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and natural vitamin E, sulphoraphane acts as an "indirect" antioxidant. That means that while those two vitamins are used by the body to directly defuse the harmful oxidative force of free radicals (and then must be replaced or regenerated in the cells), sulphoraphane acts indirectly, boosting the body's immunity defenses. Because of that indirect action, researchers point out, sulphoraphane lasts longer in the body and may produce a more profound, long-term antioxidant effect.
In other laboratory tests, researchers have discovered that sulphoraphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium recognized 20 years ago as the cause of debilitating stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers (Proc Natl Acad of Sci 5/28/02). This research shows that sulphoraphane is even effective against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter. Adding to its benefits, sulphoraphane can help kill bacteria both inside and outside stomach cells; when this bacteria hides inside of cells it is particularly difficult to fight.
" We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity," says Jed Fahey, a plant physiologist at Hopkins. "However, its potency against Helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
Looking for Mr. Good Diet
For the biggest bang for your antioxidant buck, combine antioxidants with good lifestyle habits. A laboratory study of the heart-healthy effects of taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins C and natural E along with L-arginine (an amino acid) found that exercise magnifies benefits (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 5/24/04, online). The scientists who performed this study recommend exercise along with antioxidants to boost your nutritional advantage.
The box score shows that when playing with the A Team you've got the best chance of hitting an antioxidant home run.
Hearty Soy - Soy will cater to your cardiovascular well-being...
June 13, 2005 10:19 AM
Hearty Soy by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, January 5, 2004
It's a diet food, it's a health food. Any way you look at it or eat it, soy's combination of benefits and its versatility as a component of a heart-healthy diet have led to a widespread popularity that continues to grow.
No matter what your taste preference, a soy food is available to satisfy your picky palate and cater to your cardiovascular well-being.
Annual sales of soy in the US continue to grow more than 10% a year, edging toward the $4 billion mark. Today, the average American consumes about 10 mg of soy protein a day, even though the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking in at least 25 mg of soy to benefit your heart. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signaled its approval of the soy bandwagon, allowing claims that daily soy can help lower the risk of cardiovascular complications.
As Good as a Drug
Researchers who have investigated how soy can help lower cholesterol and shrink the risk of heart disease have concluded that soy, in a diet with fruits and vegetables, can be as effective as cholesterol-reducing drugs (JAMA 7/22/03).
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital compared the cholesterol-lowering power of soy and other vegetarian foods with that of lovastatin, a standard pharmaceutical used to reduce cholesterol.
In the study, scientists fed people a diet that, along with soy, had large amounts of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, and high-fiber foods like oats and barley plus margarine made with plant sterols (natural substances derived from leafy greens and vegetable oils). Researcher David Jenkins, PhD, a nutrition science professor, thinks these foods may be good at dropping cholesterol because human evolution makes us well-adapted for an "ape diet," one high in fiber, vegetable protein, nuts and plant sterols.
According to Dr. Jenkins, "As we age, we tend to get raised cholesterol, which in turn increases our risk of heart disease. This study shows that people now have a dietary alternative to drugs to control their cholesterol, at least initially." Dr. Jenkins also thinks that soy and a vegetarian diet can be used to maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Dr. Jenkins' heart-healthy diet, designed to be easily prepared and consumed, includes oat bran bread and cereal, soy drinks, fruit and soy deli slices. For instance, in his study, a typical dinner consisted of tofu baked with eggplant, onions and sweet peppers, pearled barley and vegetables.
Dr. Jenkins adds, "The Food and Drug Administration has approved these cholesterol-lowering foods as having legitimate health claims for heart disease risk reduction. They're also being recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program as foods that should be incorporated into the diet. And we have now proven that these foods have an almost identical effect on lowering cholesterol as the original cholesterol-reducing drugs."
Dr. Jenkins regrets that health practitioners often give drugs to people with high cholesterol instead of trying to control the problem with soy and other vegetarian foods.
Soy Safety Affirmed
Recently, some doctors have spread the story that soy may increase the risk of cancer because natural chemicals in soy act like estrogens, hormones that may contribute to breast and other cancers. However, research has failed to support this supposition.
As Dr. Jenkins points out, "the concerns have been whether soy estrogen might lead to hormone-dependent breast cancer or abnormal sexual development in children, yet we found no evidence to support this."
In another of Dr. Jenkins' studies, people were put on diets high in soy to see how their estrogen levels were affected. Then, the researchers measured estrogen byproducts in their urine. Since estrogen stimulates breast cancer cells to produce a special protein, the researchers measured the amount of this protein produced by each urine sample to calculate how much estrogen was present.
The total estrogenic activity in the urine of women on soy dropped to lower levels than it had been before they ate soy. "This finding suggests that soy may not have the estrogenic effects that were thought to alleviate menopausal symptoms but it refutes claims about its purported hormone risks," Dr. Jenkins says.
The study also demonstrated that soy can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of oxidized cholesterol, which is thought to stick to coronary artery walls and form dangerous plaques. Dr. Jenkins' other research demonstrates that soy consumption reduces cholesterol in general while also decreasing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body and maintaining the HDL (good) cholesterol. According to Dr. Jenkins, this confirms that soy should be promoted for its important role in preventing heart disease without fear that it will promote cancer.
In another study in China, researchers compared the dietary habits of more than 350 women with breast cancer to the foods eaten by more than 1,000 women who did not have cancer (Amer Assoc Canc Res Second Annual Intl Conf Fron Can Prev Res 10/27/03, Abst 1274). They found that eating large amounts of soy did not raise the risk of breast cancer.
Of course, anyone can develop allergies to almost any food, soy included. If eating soy causes you discomfort, find another source of healthy protein (see box on whey protein above).
Isoflavones, soy's plant estrogens, are believed to create some of the most significant heart-healthy soy benefits. Consequently, researchers urge those concerned about their cardiovascular health to combine a diet high in soy, fruits and vegetables with exercise for the highest level of heart protection. Cheaper than cholesterol drugs, tastier than many other healthy foods and available in so many forms, soy's popularity will certainly continue to explode. Soy burgers, soy drinks and soy just-about-everything will continue to be a big part of our lives.
Keeping Your Edge - The state of your outer body reflects the inner you.
June 12, 2005 05:22 PM
Keeping Your Edge by Carl Lowe Energy Times, December 2, 2003
If you want to keep your mental edge, better keep your physical edge. As your body goes, so goes your brain: The state of your outer body reflects the inner you.
A flabby body leads to flabby thinking. Weight gain and toneless muscles on the outside are evidence of an out-of-tune brain and thinking processes as soft around the edges as your stomach. But staying in shape physically can boost your mental powers.
As you age, one of the biggest threats to keeping your thoughts sharp is Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain deterioration (dementia) that destroys your memory and your ability to think.
Today, about 4.5 million Americans suffer Alzheimer's disease. Over a lifetime, the average cost per person suffering this disease adds up to a staggering $175,000. Consequently, according to the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org), this disease drains approximately a billion dollars a year from the US economy.
Thanks to an aging population and the growing girth of Americans, the rate of Alzheimer's threatens to explode into an epidemic over the next two decades.
Experts now believe that if you are carrying around too much weight, those extra pounds puts you at a higher risk of losing your thinking abilities. And being seriously overweight greatly expands your chances of developing this debilitating type of dementia.
An 18-year study of about 400 people in Sweden, all aged 70 at the beginning of the research, concluded that your chances of suffering dementia significantly increases with every extra pound (Archives for Internal Medicine 7/03).
Cholesterol Conquers Minds
In addition to the extra risk to your thinking capacity from body fat, having high levels of cholesterol in your blood also threatens your brain's ability to reason. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that:
* Excess amounts of cholesterol can lead to accumulation of APP, a protein found normally in moderate amounts in both the brain and the heart.
* Excess APP linked to cholesterol can, in turn, lead to the development of larger amounts of a substance called amyloid protein.
* Pieces of amyloid protein can form plaque on the brain, destroying cells and leading to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
"Past research has shown that high cholesterol levels appear to increase APP levels, which in turn leads to increased levels of beta amyloid protein and the risk of accumulation of amyloid beta peptide," says Vassilios Papadopoulos, PhD, professor of cell biology at Georgetown. "Our research showed that high cholesterol levels also increase the rate at which the amyloid beta peptides break off and form the tangles that kill brain cells." Added to that, the Georgetown scientists have demonstrated that high cholesterol seems to cause the body to boost its production of the protein, apolipoprotein E (APOE), a chemical that normally helps take cholesterol out of cells. But when APOE accumulates, this chemical leads to an excess of free cholesterol, which kills nerve cells.
"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence implicating high cholesterol as a significant risk factor in Alzheimer's disease, and breaks new ground in showing the damage caused by excessive levels of cholesterol," says Dr. Papadopoulos.
Since high blood pressure also increases your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (BMJ 6/14/01), devoting yourself to a heart-healthy lifestyle (eating plenty of fiber, cutting back on saturated fat in red meat and avoiding trans fats in cookies and cakes) can increase your chances of keeping your wits about you as you move through life.
As part of that heart-healthy lifestyle that keeps your brain functioning at top capacity, experts recommend regular helpings of omega-3 fatty acids, the type of fats found in fish, flax and hemp.
In research that focused on people between the ages of 65 to 94, researchers have found that eating seafood at least once a week drops your risk of Alzheimer's by about 60% compared with folks who forego fish (Archives of Neurology 7/03).
Along with fish, the scientists recommended munching more nuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In the report on the relationship between eating and Alzheimer's, Robert Friedland, MD, of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, noted: "A high antioxidant/low saturated fat diet pattern with a greater amount of fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables and less red meat and dairy products is likely to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, as that for heart disease and stroke."
Wake Up Your Brain
If your thinking has been fuzzy lately, take a nap.
Getting enough sleep right after you learn something new helps maintain your learning abilities, according to research at the University of Chicago. In a test of how sleep can help people remember words and language, these researchers taught students to recognize a unique vocabulary spoken by a machine. After the learning session, students were then tested on their new abilities.
The scientists found that students trained in the morning tested poorly when tested later the same evening. But when students were trained right before bedtime and then tested the next morning, their test scores soared (Nature 9/9/03).
"Sleep has at least two separate effects on learning," according to the researchers. "Sleep consolidates memories, protecting them against subsequent interference or decay. Sleep also appears to 'recover' or restore memories."
The concept of this research originated in observations of birds.
"We were surprised several years ago to discover that birds apparently 'dream of singing' and this might be important for song learning," says researcher Daniel Margoliash, professor of biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago.
While you may not dream of singing like a bird, you may dream of having a sharper intellect. Luckily, the tools for sharpening your mental powers are easy to find and put to good use: Methods for keeping your brain in shape are basically the same techniques effective for keeping your body and heart in shape.
June 10, 2005 03:52 PM
by Lisa James Energy Times, January 3, 2002
An American suffers a heart attack every 20 seconds. That adds up to 180 heart attacks every hour. Many of these life-threatening events don't have to happen: heart-healthy nutrients, weight control and exercise could ease this epidemic.
More evidence of how to protect your heart piles up every day, amounting to a stack of research thicker than the juiciest, most heart-threatening cheeseburger on a big, fat bun. To protect your heart, you've got to protect your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart and also feed the heart muscle oxygen and nutrients.
Arteries are essentially three-layered tubes: the inner endothelium, a middle muscle layer which allows the artery to widen and contract, and an outer layer that encloses and supports the other two. When the lining, which is normally smooth, is damaged, the resulting rough patch develops plaque from LDL cholesterol, and the artery narrows and hardens.
When LDL cholesterol is oxidized into plaque, the resulting damage attracts large immune cells called macrophages which consume the oxidized LDL and get trapped in the developing plaque. Oxidized LDL is also associated with the death of muscle cells in the artery's middle layer (Circulation 2000; 102:2680). Plaque slows blood flow to the heart and can result in angina, chest pain often brought about by exertion. Heart attacks strike when unstable plaque ruptures, triggering blood clotting that blocks blood flow and may kill sections of the heart muscle as it's cut off from oxygen and nutrients.
Foods, like fatty meats, filled with saturated fat, are believed to start this heart-threatening process. Even by age 15, your arteries may be narrowing.
Antioxidants can help keep your arteries functioning smoothly by counteracting LDL oxidation. Lab research has shown that cells in the lining can be protected by natural vitamin E. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains is an important step in stocking your antioxidant arsenal. But many heart experts recommend supplementation, a strategy that's been shown to bolster the body's defenses (J Nutr Biochem 2001; 12:388-95).
Vitamins C and E: The Dynamic Duo
Antioxidant allies abound, but two of the most important are vitamin C and natural vitamin E. They work particularly well together because C is effective in the fluid that bathes all cells, while E defangs free radicals in the fatty areas, such as cell membranes. And vitamin C actually recharges vitamin E, increasing E's antioxidant effectiveness. Each vitamin provides protective benefits on its own. People with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes who took vitamin E in one study saw drops in cholesterol and glucose and increases in antioxidants, such as superoxide peroxidase, produced by the body itself (Endocr Res 2001; 27:377-86). For its part, vitamin C has prevented free radical damage in individuals who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke and has improved artery lining function in persons with coronary artery disease (Free Radic Biol Med 2000; 28:428-36; Circulation 1999; 99:3234-40). When used together, this vitamin dynamic duo provides powerful protection against both LDL oxidation and high blood pressure (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000; 20:2087-93; Hypertension 2000; 36:142-6). They also help keep immune cells from sticking to arterial linings (Circ Res 2000; 87:349).
Vitamins C and E also seem to prove effective against inflammation that researchers think contributes to heart health. Research in this area continues, but scientists now believe that inflammation from infections with herpes simplex one, the cold sore virus, and Chlamydia pneumoniae, a respiratory tract bug, can foment heart trouble. Inflammation may slow blood flow to the heart and make clots more likely. Among persons with peripheral arterial disease, blockages in arms and legs, not getting enough vitamin C levels may increase inflammation (Circulation 2001; 103:1863). Vitamin E apparently soothes inflammation by decreasing the release of immune chemicals and calming the immune cells involved in atherosclerosis (Diet and Optimum Health Conference, 5/01, Portland OR). Clot Busters Vitamin E also reduces the risk of clots and lowers the chance of a clot sticking in a vessel. It keeps platelets, cells that cause clotting, from becoming too gooey and breaks up fibrin, a clot-forming protein. Garlic (Allium sativa) also discourages inappropriate clotting. Used medicinally since the beginning of recorded time, the Greek physician Dioscorides thought it could clean the arteries. The ancient faith in garlic's circulatory benefits are supported by modern research. Recent studies have found substances in garlic that keep platelets from clumping together and lower cholesterol. In one study, men with high cholesterol who took garlic extract for five months saw their total cholesterol drop an average of 7% and their LDL drop 10% (J Nutr 2001; 131:989S-93S).
Hunting Down Homocysteine
Homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, may also be linked to artery problems. Scientists believe that when too much homocysteine accumulates in the bloodstream, arteries stiffen and plaque forms. The causes of this buildup remain murky but it appears that perpetually angry folks have higher homocysteine levels. Estimates vary on how much of a risk factor homocysteine represents; between 10% and 40% of people who suffer heart attacks may have high levels. Excessive homocysteine also seems to be linked to other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, a diabetes precursor (Diabetes Care 2001; 24:1403-10). The good news: the so-called DASH diet-featuring fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and fish-may reduce homocysteine and drop your heart disease risk by 7% to 9% (Circulation 2000; 102:852-7). More benefits: simple B vitamins can control homocysteine. Folic acid (folate), along with vitamins B6 and B12, may help break it down and render it harmless. Taking these vitamins in supplement form has been shown to reduce homocysteine (Lancet 2000; 355:517-22). What's more, natural vitamin E may be able to restore artery lining function when homocysteine levels are high (Am J Cardiol 2001; 88:285-90). If you really want your ticker to tick stronger and longer, go long on your ready supply of heart healthy nutrients.
Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol
June 09, 2005 06:05 PM
Take it to Heart by Dawn Lemonathen Energy Times, January 2, 2002
Lifestyle is key to bettering your odds of beating heart disease. A few simple, everyday heart-friendly habits can help your heart help you. Right now, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications like stroke have reached sky-high levels across the US.
Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from one of the various forms of cardiovascular disease and these often fatal complications cause more than 40% of all deaths in the United States. Statistics show that nearly a million Americans succumb to heart problems every year. The humongous cost: Heart disease and stroke consume almost $260 billion annually. Heart disease is the top cause of death for older Americans and remains the leading cause of death for all Americans age 35 and older. Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as ischemic heart disease, is the most frequent cause of death for adults in the United States-accounting for more than 500,000 deaths a year. And even though most women have had their consciousness raised about their risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, in fact, their chances of dying from one of the forms of heart disease is double their risk of succumbing to one of the forms of cancer. And ten times more women die from cardiovascular problems than die from breast cancer.
Cholesterol and Heart Health
Nuts and Heart Health
Vegetarianism vs Heart Disease
Red Yeast Rice For Lipid Wellness
June 04, 2005 02:30 PM
Maintaining cardiovascular health is a fundamental strategy in the holistic healing system. It may be the most important thing you can do for your body. One of the factors for optimal cardiovascular health is keeping your lipid levels within the normal range. But with today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s hard to maintain a healthy diet and exercise program. Red yeast rice is a natural product that supports maintenance of normal lipid levels. Source Naturals RED YEAST RICE is standardized to 1.5% mixed mevinolinic acid monacolins. These monacolins block the synthesis of lipids in the liver by binding to the lipids production enzyme HMG-CoA reductase. Support your lipid wellness with the quality and science of Source Naturals RED YEAST RICE.
The Liver and Lipid
The amount of lipid you consume in food is not the most important factor for regulating normal lipid levels. The liver manufactures approximately 80% of total body lipid while the other 20% comes from dietary sources. Our bodies require lipid but we can also get too much of it. Lipid is only harmful to us if it becomes oxidized. Oxidized lipid can cause damage to tissues and accumulate in blood vessels. Balancing the lipid produced by your liver is critical to your total lipid and your cardiovascular health.
Red yeast rice has been used in China for centuries to make rice wine, to color and flavor foods such as Peking duck and as a health promoting food. It is prepared by fermenting a type of yeast (Monascus purpureus) over rice. Red yeast rice is a complex product that contains several active ingredients including monacolins. Monacolins act as HMG-CoA inhibitors. HMG-CoA reductase is an enzyme that helps make lipid. By blocking its lipid producing action, the natural compounds in red yeast rice can help you maintain lipid levels that are within the normal range. A double blind clinical trial using red yeast rice and placebo with 80 human subjects was conducted at UCLA. After eight weeks with no changes in diet composition the group taking red yeast rice maintained healthy lipid levels.
Natural Support For Your Heart
Nature provides us with special compounds that allow us to explore safe alternatives to support our health. Taking personal responsibility for your health is at the heart of the wellness revolution. Changing your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to take that responsibility and provide support and protection for your heart. A diet low in lipid, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, and high in complex carbohydrates and fiber is important. Exercise regularly, quit smoking and supplement your diet with heart-healthy compounds such as red yeast rice, CoQ10, folic acid, garlic, omega-3 fatty acids, carnitine, hawthorn berry extract, arginine, vitamin E and tocotrienols. Source Naturals RED YEAST RICE is standardized to 1.5% mixed mevinolinic acid monacolins. This standardization process provides you with the assurance that you are getting a consistent concentration of these compounds in each dose. RED YEAST RICE is part of Source Natural’s extensive line of products scientifically formulated to provide support for your cardiovascular health.
Gluco Sciense - Take Control of your Blood Sugar ...
June 02, 2005 10:51 AM
Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and sugar-rich diets are prevalent in our society. The result: challenges to your multiple, interdependent body systems involved with blood sugar levels and insulin activity. Now is the time to learn how a healthy diet and lifestyle can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. For further support, Source Naturals offers you GLUCO-SCIENCE™, a breakthrough formula. GLUCO-SCIENCE is uniquely effective because it is a Bio-Aligned Formula™. Source Naturals evaluates the underlying causes of system imbalances. Then we design formulas that provide targeted nutrition to bring your interrelated body systems back into balance. GLUCO-SCIENCE can help bring your body’s systems for carbohydrate metabolism back into alignment.
A Bio-Aligned Formula™
GLUCO-SCIENCE is a comprehensive herbal-nutrient formula, based on the newest clinical research into key herbs and special ingredients. Source Naturals studied the scientific research, and then designed GLUCO-SCIENCE. This Bio- Aligned Formula provides targeted nutrition to five different body systems involved with healthy blood sugar levels and insulin activity.
GLUCO-SCIENCE supports glucose/carbohydrate metabolism with a range of nutrients. B-vitamins are required for glycolysis and the Krebs cycle, the metabolic pathways by which the body converts glucose into cellular energy. Chromium is believed to work closely with insulin to facilitate the uptake of glucose into cells. Manganese is also involved in glucose uptake. The formula also features herbs from several traditions, such as Gymnema sylvestre.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels after meals. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells to provide fuel for cellular energy. Certain nutrients (see chart) support these vital metabolic processes, including mediation of insulin release and activity, and enhancing insulin sensitivity. N-acetyl cysteine protects pancreatic beta cells from oxidative damage in animal studies. In addition, vanadium, zinc, and selenium are notable for their insulin-like actions.
Heart and Circulatory System
Vitamin E supports a healthy lipid status, while myricetin has been shown in animal studies to influence triglyceride levels. Gymnema sylvestre and vitamin C are involved with lipid metabolism. Additional heart-healthy ingredients include CoQ10, garlic, fenugreek, and hawthorn.
Antioxidants are important for a healthy nervous system. Lipoic acid helps prevent lipid peroxidation, which can impact nerve function. Many B-vitamins are vital to the metabolic processes of the nerves or are present in the phospholipids of cell membranes. Methylcobalamin, an active form of vitamin B-12, supports the central nervous system. Other supportive ingredients are included (see chart).
GLUCO-SCIENCE provides antioxidants, nutrients and herbs with an affinity for eyes and the physiological processes involved in sight. Alpha-lipoic acid, quercetin, and vitamin C support healthy lens function. Bilberry, shown to support microcirculation in animal studies, is widely recognized for supporting vision.
Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels: A Strategy for WellnessSM
Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar levels with Gluco-sciense.
Glucose/Carbohydrate Metabolism American Ginseng, Bitter Melon, Blueberry, Fenugreek, Gymnema sylvestre, Maitake, Myricetin, Pterocarpus marsupium, Chromium, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6 & B-12, Biotin, Inositol, Niacinamide Insulin/Pancreatic Activity alpha-Lipoic Acid, Bitter Melon, Gymnema sylvestre, Maitake Fruit Body, Myricetin, N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, Pterocarpus marsupium, Taurine, Chromium, Manganese, Selenium, Vanadium, Zinc Heart and Circulatory System Bilberry, Blueberry, CoQ10, Fenugreek, Garlic, Grape Seed, Gymnema sylvestre, Hawthorn, Myricetin, Taurine, Siberian Ginseng, Magnesium, Selenium, Vitamins B-6, C & E, Folic Acid, Niacinamide Nervous System alpha-Lipoic acid, Glutamine, Magnesium, Taurine, Vitamins B-1 & B-6, Biotin, Choline, Inositol, Methylcobalamin Vision alpha-Lipoic Acid, Bilberry, Quercetin, Taurine, Zinc, Vitamins B-6, C & E
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
May 27, 2005 09:24 AM
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
The Standard American Diet (or S.A.D.) is exactly that ? sad! Sadly lacking in essential nutrients and sadly loaded with an excess of the wrong things, like fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar. How can we improve our diets and truly nourish our bodies?
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Why are fruits and vegetables so important? Not only are they high in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain bioflavonoids?naturally occurring plant constituents that act as antioxidants and support the integrity of our connective tissue. And fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, so crucial in maintaining our digestive tract health.
What fruits and vegetables don't contain is just as important as what they do contain: fruits and vegetables are free of cholesterol, additives and preservatives, contain no added sugar or salt, and are low in fat?nature's perfect foods. All you have to do is look at the bright, crisp colors?the vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, reds and purples?to know how good fruits and vegetables are for you.
Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains, like oats, brown rice and barley, help us meet important nutritional goals. They are low in fat and high in fiber, and, because the germ of the grain has not been lost in the milling process, they are higher in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and B vitamins compared to processed grain products like white bread or pasta. And they're delicious! Have a bowl of hot oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts for breakfast?or make a hearty barley-vegetable stew for dinner. Your body will thank you!
Increase Your Fiber Consumption
Fiber exercises our digestive tract?toning and strengthening the muscle that surrounds our intestines just the way lifting weights tightens and tones our skeletal muscles. Low-fiber diets increase our risk for a variety of bowel problems, from constipation and hemorrhoids to diverticulosis and diverticulitis to colon cancer. Increasing fiber in the diet is good for the digestive tract, helps regulate blood sugar and may also help reduce cholesterol levels.
What are the best dietary sources of fiber? All plant foods (whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) contain fiber. And all animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain zero fiber?that's right, none!
Eat Healthy Fats and Oils
Fats and oils have gotten a bad rap. Somehow the idea has been promoted that all fats are bad and we should eat as little fat as possible. The truth is that fat is an essential part of our diet, and dietary fats are used for many important functions in the body, from energy production to cell membrane maintenance to nerve conduction. While much of the focus has been on the amount of fat we should eat, the type of fats we eat is at least as important.
High-quality fats are rare in the standard American diet. Most of the fats and oils we eat have been damaged by exposure to heat or light during processing or cooking. This damage destroys essential nutrients and creates free radicals, chemically unstable molecules that can wreak havoc in the body. For this reason, fried foods and highly processed fats like margarine and shortening are best avoided. Health concerns have been raised about margarine, as it contains trans fatty acids?a configuration of fatty acids not found in nature.
And our ratio of fat consumption is skewed. Most Americans consume too many saturated fats and not enough polyunsaturated oils. How do you tell which fats are saturated and which are not? Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think butter, lard and coconut oil). Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature (like corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil). In addition to polyunsaturated oils, olive oil, a monounsaturated oil, is also a heart-healthy choice and one of the best oils to use.
Reduce Your Consumption of Animal Products
While animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain many valuable nutrients, as a nation, we tend to overdo it. A diet high in animal products is a diet high in cholesterol, and is strongly linked to the number-one killer in the industrialized nations: cardiovascular disease, which includes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
How do you know which foods contain a lot of cholesterol without having to read labels? All animal products contain cholesterol. All plant foods (grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds) contain zero cholesterol. It's that simple. Eating a predominantly vegetarian diet is one way to maintain your cardiovascular health.
Avoid Stimulants?Like Caffeine
Most people think caffeine "gives" them energy. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Caffeine in fact robs the body of energy?by withdrawing from your energy 'savings account' now, leaving you less reserves to draw upon later. The pick-me-up feeling artificial stimulants provide is inevitably followed by an energy crash.
Reduce Your Caloric Intake
About a quarter of the U.S. population is now considered to be obese, and the numbers are rising. Our children are increasingly overweight, from a steady diet of junk food and TV-watching. As a nation, we are overfed and undernourished?our diets are too high in "empty" calories and too low in essential nutrients.
Being overweight significantly increases the risk for a variety of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. Animal studies have shown that the only consistent way to extend the life spans of laboratory animals is to put them on a lower calorie diet. Thinner rats live longer?and we suspect the same is true for humans.
Are you too serious about your diet? Do you miss out on social opportunities because you are too busy counting calories or grams of fat? Lighten up! To paraphrase one poet, "?Tis better to eat steak and beer with cheer than sprouts and bread with dread!" Don't allow your dietary restrictions to rule you or limit your social life.
Eating out is possible, even on a restricted diet. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate your requests. It's just a matter of learning how to order the healthiest meal possible. Good options include poached fish with lemon, salads with vinaigrette dressing, and plain baked potatoes. Get in the habit of ordering sauces on the side and avoid filling up on empty calories, like white bread rolls.
Take Time To Savor Each Meal
We often make the mistake of eating hurriedly, standing at the sink wolfing something?anything!?down so we can move on to the next activity in our busy lives. But digestion actually functions better when we take the time to slow down. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for enhancing circulation to the digestive organs and promoting the flow of digestive juices. There is only one catch?we must be relaxed for our parasympathetic nervous system to predominate. So, take a deep breath and relax, there's plenty of time!