Category Archives: heart disease

Walnut eaters reduce risk of dying from heart disease or cancer by nearly fifty percent


by John Phillip 

(NaturalNews) Heart disease and cancer in all their different forms take the lives of nearly three-quarters of all men, women and children in the US each year. Yet thousands of well constructed research bodies have shown that most chronic diseases can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes including diet, smoking, physical activity and exposure to toxic household and environmental pollutants through our early and middle adult years. Specific foods and nutrients such as resveratrol, curcumin, green tea and leafy greens have demonstrated specific properties that help to prevent and fight cardiovascular disease and cancer, and should be included as part of your regular daily diet and supplement plan.

A research study team based in Spain has published the result of their research in the journal, BMC Medicine that explains that those who eat nuts more than three times a week had a reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease than non-nut eaters. To conduct their research, scientists looked at the effect on the prevention of cardiovascular disease when the participants were put on a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts and extra virgin olive oil, compared with a control group following a low-fat diet.

Raw nuts, especially walnuts help lower blood pressure and blood lipids to thwart chronic disease

The scientists analyzed more than 7,000 people aged between 55 and 90 years, and divided them into two groups based on adherence to a Mediterranean style diet that included nuts, and especiallywalnuts, or those following a low-fat diet. The team found that people who eat more than three servings of nuts (1 serving equal approximately one ounce) a week had a 55 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 40 percent reduced risk of death from cancer.

Lead study author, Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvad commented “How nuts are able to prevent premature mortality is not entirely clear, nor why walnut should be better for you than other nuts. Walnuts have particularly high content of alpha-linoleic acid and phytochemicals…, along with fiber and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, may contribute to their healthy effect.” Past studies have demonstrated that walnuts in particular are a beneficial part of a healthy diet and are the best source of antioxidants, containing twice the amount as normal nuts.

Researchers also note that people who ate nuts had a lower body mass index and smaller waist. Further, this group was found to be more physically active and less likely to smoke. The study authors conclude “Questions about specific constituents, amount, duration and type of nuts to be consumed remain to be elucidated. Meanwhile, we might need to focus on the question of how to better promote nut consumption in the population and sustainably integrate it into the daily diet.” Nutrition experts recommend replacing one daily serving of fruits and vegetables with a one ounce serving of raw nuts to significantly lower the risk of dying from heart disease and cancer.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.biomedcentral.com
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263331.php
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715202458.htm

Two more reasons to take turmeric: It protects your heart, fights autoimmune disease


by David Gutierrez, staff writer 

(NaturalNews) You may already have heard that turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer food, but did you know that it can also help protect your heart and fight autoimmune diseases?

In a study published in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin in 2011, researchers from Niigata University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Sciences in Japan found that three weeks of supplementation with the turmeric compound curcumin significantly improved cardiac health in male rats who had been given an injection to induce an autoimmune disease of the heart (autoimmune myocarditis). The rats supplemented with curcumin also showed a reduction in the area of the heart covered by inflammatory lesions and a reduction in the heart’s weight-to-body-weight ratio.

“Our results indicate that curcumin has the potential to protect against cardiac inflammation through suppression of IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, GATA-4 and NF-kB expresses, and may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for autoimmune myocarditis,” the researchers wrote.

Turmeric has the distinction of being both one of the most widely used culinary spices and traditional medicines in the world. Its benefits have been well studied by Western scientists, who attribute much of its disease-fighting prowess to a trio of naturally occurring yellow-orange chemicals called the curcuminoids (and sometimes known simply by the name of the most famous of them, curcumin).

As good for your heart as exercise

Turmeric is not just good for the hearts of people with autoimmune myocarditis; in fact, several studies conducted by researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan suggest that it may be as beneficial for your heart as aerobic exercise!

In a pair of studies published in the journals Artery Research and Nutrition Research in September and October 2012, respectively, the researchers found that women who took a curcumin supplement showed as much improvement in two measures of heart health (vascular endothelial function and arterial compliance) as women assigned to a moderate aerobic exercise training program. An even greater benefit was seen, of course, in those who took the supplements and engaged in the exercise program as well.

In another study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension in June 2012, the researchers found that a combined exercise and curcumin program significantly slowed age-related degeneration in the heart.

Turmeric battles hard-to-treat autoimmune conditions

Because turmeric is such a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, numerous studies have been conducted to see whether it could be effective in reducing the severity of inflammation-based autoimmune diseases.

In autoimmune diseases, the body is attacked by its own immune system. These diseases are still poorly understood, and most of them have no known cause or cure. Common autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, myocarditis, thyroiditis, uveitis, systemic lupus erythromatosis and myasthenia. An estimated 5 percent of the world’s population suffers from an autoimmune disease.

According to a research review published in the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2007, curcumin has been shown to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis in humans or animals. As expected, symptomatic relief comes, at least in part, from the regulation of inflammation pathways.

It should be noted that the body absorbs curcumin most effectively from turmeric root, rather than from supplements. In addition, the maximum benefit to nutraceuticals typically comes when they are consumed at low doses over a long period of time. Nevertheless, at least one trial suggests that daily curcumin doses of up to 8 g might be safe for up to four months or longer.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/39835

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.jointmints.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/040330_turmeric_heart_health_curcumin.html

Dr. Oz on the Real Threat to The Sopranos

Dr. Oz on the Real Threat to The Sopranos

James Gandolfini’s death is a reminder that everyone is vulnerable to heart disease

When I heard of actor James Gandolfini‘s untimely passing after a heart attack, I was reminded of a recurring theme in the television series he made so memorable. His tough mafia don character valued family above all, but was incessantly anxious about his ability to protect them and keep them well. Tony Soprano did keep his family safe—in his decidedly unconventional fashion. And Gandolfini, a husband and a father of two, looked after his own as well — until he left them altogether, claimed by a heart attack at just 51.

When it comes to our health, we are all like the much-missed Gandolfini. We will do anything for the people closest to us — anything, that is, except take the steps we need to maintain our health and allow us to spend as many years as possible loving and playing with the people we treasure most.

If even tough guys like Tony Soprano need to get checked out, the rest of us do too — whether we think we’re in good shape or not, and whether we’ve ever had chest pains or not, since plenty of people are pain free until the very moment their heart gives in. Some have argued that Gandolfini’s past substance abuse contributed to his premature death. Perhaps it did. But we shouldn’t ignore the more obvious risk factor: at just over six feet tall and around 272 lbs. (123 kg), he was an outsized personality in a dangerously outsized body. In a country that is simultaneously obsessed with bodily perfection, even as two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, weight has become an exceedingly fraught topic, and in the first hours after Gandolfini’s death, some commentators sought to sidestep the topic, wondering how a vigorous man with no known health complaints could have suddenly succumbed. But if we saw an anorexic teenager we wouldn’t pretend she wasn’t heading for serious health trouble, so why should we be so coy at the other end of the weight spectrum?

A key role in anyone’s weight gain may be stress—something that can be a defining feature of a celebrity’s day. Stress hormones such as cortisol can hijack our normal appetite sensors, pushing us to eat even when we are not hungry. This is particularly dangerous when the excess fat that results from overeating is belly fat, which squeezes the kidneys. Since it’s the kidneys that, in turn, regulate blood pressure, it’s no surprise that overweight people are at such high risk of hypertension, the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Belly fat also harms the liver, prompting it to release more cholesterol. In many people, those changes can block the ability of insulin to break down blood sugar, contributing to diabetes, which wears away at our major arteries and leads to atherosclerosis, a condition often discovered after lethal heart attacks. Half of all victims die during their first heart attack because they do not know their risk factors or do not recognize the subtle warning signs that make their hearts vulnerable.

This awareness can be a life saver, and two of Gandolfini’s own Sopranos cast mates are living proof. Vincent Pastore and Frank Vincent both had heart artery blockages that resembled the type that may have killed Gandolfino. They both noted increasing shortness of breath, and although they did not realize at the time they were at risk of heart disease, they were brave and wise enough to seek help for their symptoms; each had life-saving surgery at my center during the run of The Sopranos. Shortness of breath is a telltale sign of cardiovascular trouble, since it results when the heart cannot even pump the blood out of the lungs, essentially meaning we are drowning from lack of oxygen. But most of us ignore this symptom and many people have no symptoms at all—until it’s too late. And that is why we suffer the loss of so many wonderful people like James Gandolfini.

It wasn’t easy for Pastore and Vincent to shed their afraid-of-nothing mobster characters and visit the doctor. In fact, when Pastore first met my colleague Michael Argenziano, he introduced himself by his Soprano’s nick name of “Big Pussy.” Dr. Argenziano had never seen the show and was caught off guard. Don’t worry, he assured him, we’re all afraid in situations like these. But showing up for treatment in the first place was a profound act of courage—courage that is fortified by our deep desire to protect our families.

Pastore and Vincent both agreed to speak openly about their cases because they hope their stories will serve as an important example. For those willing to follow it, here is my gauntlet for the brave:

First, if your belly looks like James Gandolfini’s, you need a check up. I am specifically asking you to measure your waist size at the belly button and honestly report if this number is more than half your height. Forget using your current belt size as a tool, since most men slip it below the belly fat pad.

Second, ensure that your baseline risk factors like hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol are under control. These are often corrected with lifestyle alone.


Third, shortness of breath from walking up two flights of stairs or any sudden change at all in your breath or stamina is worrisome. Think of it as the equivalent of having chest pain.


Fourth, what have you eaten in the last 24 hours? Fatty and fried foods cause spasms in blood vessels, which limits blood flow for six hours, at which point we often have another fatty meal. Most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings because of our dietary transgressions over the weekend and the stress of the upcoming work week. What you eat and do today will effect the chance of a heart attack tomorrow.

We’ll never know what wonderful work James Gandolfini would have done if he had had a full measure of years. We’ll never know either the things he would have taught his young daughter, who will have her first birthday in October. We do know the steps that might have helped him live to have all those experiences, and they’re the same things that can help protect us—and our families—too.

7 Ways to Never Have a Heart Attack

  By: Ted Spiker

Gamblers, weathermen, and Dionne Warwick aren’t the only people who try to make a living predicting the future. Doctors do, too. Just as a gambler might gather stats like Sammy Sosa’s slugging percentage on Thursday games at home when the wind is less than 15 mph, a doctor gathers vital information to try to determine the odds on your health.

For years, physicians focused on basic measures, such as blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. But recently, more and more studies have shown that there’s a new MVP (most valuable predictor) when it comes to forecasting heart disease. It’s a substance that sounds like a grunge-rock band: C-reactive protein (CRP).

Though it was discovered in 1930, only in the past several years has CRP been shown to be important. Doctors now know that CRP helps measure chronic inflammation and the overall health of your arteries. The higher your CRP level, the more at risk you may be for heart disease—even if your other indicators look normal.

“Half of all heart attacks and strokes in the United States each year occur among people with essentially normal cholesterol levels,” says Paul Ridker, M.D., a professor of medicine at Harvard medical school. “There’s more to heart disease than just lipids. In addition to the problem of cholesterol, there’s the problem of the immune system or the inflammation response.”

A heart attack occurs when plaque ruptures inside your blood vessels. But that rupturing hinges not just on how much plaque you have but also on the degree of inflammation, Dr. Ridker says. Your level of CRP—measured by a simple blood test—helps detect this condition so you can predict whether you’re in danger of cardiovascular disease and stroke. “You can be at quite a high risk of both despite having normal cholesterol,” Dr. Ridker says. “Even people with low cholesterol but high CRP are at high risk.”

Luckily, just as you can with cholesterol and body fat, you can take steps to shrink your CRP. “If you have your CRP measured in your 20s and 30s, you can prevent heart disease and strokes in your 50s and 60s,” Dr. Ridker says. Aside from drugs such as statins, lifestyle changes are the best way to whittle down your CRP and, more important, snuff the flames before they snuff you.

Pop a Multivitamin

A grande cappuccino isn’t the only thing you’d better slug down before you go to work. A study in the American Journal of Medicine showed that people who popped a multivitamin each morning for 6 months decreased their CRP by 0.7 milligrams per liter (mg/l). And a University of California at Berkeley study found that people who took 500 mg of vitamin C saw a 24 percent drop in CRP after just 2 months.

Arch Mainous, Ph.D., a professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, says CRP levels are connected to the amount of stress caused by free radicals in your body. “Vitamins C and E decrease the oxidative stress,” he says.

Take 500 mg of a vitamin C supplement, or a multivitamin like GNC Men’s Mega Men, which contains one of the highest levels of vitamin C (300 mg) in a multi. Another way to swallow more C: cherries.

In a small study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people who ate two daily servings of cherries lowered their CRP by 16 percent.

Trust Your Greek Friends

Whether for your car, your uncle’s hair, or your arteries, the right kind of oil can make everything run smoothly. A recent study at the University of Athens in Greece found that people who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet—one rich in olive oil—had CRP numbers 20 percent lower than those of their less oily brethren.

“We believe olive oil helps turn off the gene that makes the pro-inflammatory molecules that attach to your arteries,” says Michael Roizen, M.D., a professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University and author of Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be?

Dr. Roizen suggests taking in 25 percent of your daily calories from monounsaturated fats, with an emphasis on olive oil as the source. One way to sneak it in: breakfast. Take a tablespoon of olive oil and mix in the spice of your choice—oregano if you like Italian food, red pepper if you like things spicy—then spread it on your toast, bagel, or English muffin. Or use it instead of butter when you’re cooking eggs.

Floss Like a Fiend

There’s a price to pay for a dirty mouth. One study in the Journal of Periodontology shows that the inflammatory effects of periodontal disease also cause inflammation of your arteries; signs of disease in multiple spots in your mouth can hike CRP by 14 percent.

“The bacteria that cause gum disease, we think, set up an immune reaction that attacks your arteries,” Dr. Roizen says. Floss daily, and make regular dentist appointments so hygienists can remove plaque.

Note: If you can’t stand flossing, at least rinse nightly with Listerine or a store-brand equivalent containing thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, and methyl salicylate. Recent research shows that this swish-and-spit protocol can be just as effective as flossing at fighting gum disease.

Build a Salmon Burger

Yet another bullet point to add to fish oil’s already impressive resume: “Lowers CRP.”

In a new Harvard study, people who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids (1.6 grams per day) had 29 percent lower CRP readings than those who ate the least. “Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease hydrogen peroxide, which plays an important role in the inflammatory process,” says study author Esther Lopez-Garcia, Ph.D.

Good sources of omega-3s include flaxseed, walnuts, sardines, tuna, and, of course, salmon. And though wild salmon is tops for taste, the canned kind is better at lowering CRP. “Canned salmon is packed in vegetable oils that also contain omega-3s,” says Lopez-Garcia.

Here’s how to get your health on a roll: Drain the liquid from a 6-ounce can of pink salmon and dump the fish into a bowl. Mix well with one Egglands Best egg (fortified with 150 mg omega-3s), 1/4 cup of diced red onion, and a tablespoon of bread crumbs. Form into two patties and dredge in additional bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Slip the patties inside whole-wheat buns.

Cut the Fuel Supply

We already know what kind of damage fat can do—both to your body and to subway turnstiles. Losing that fat by cutting calories is an important way to put the squeeze on CRP.

In a Wake Forest University study, those who cut calories and lost weight reduced their CRP by 6 percent over an 18-month period, says study author Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D. She speculates that the body reduces inflammation because it’s not being stoked with excess calories.

Nicklas says that firing up your metabolism with interval training can also help decrease inflammation.

Try this track workout: After warming up, run a quarter of the way around a track (about 100 meters) at close to sprint pace. Rest until you recover, then run 200 meters as fast as you can at a near-sprint pace. Rest, then do 300 meters. Rest, then do 400 meters. Now come back down the ladder—300 meters then rest, 200 then rest, and finally 100 meters.

Eat Fiber, Fiber, and More Fiber!

Leave the Froot Loops for the kids and reach for the All-Bran. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the odds of having high levels of CRP dropped by 40 percent for those people who had the most fiber during the day.

Possible reasons include fiber’s impact on insulin and its ability to bring down cholesterol and blood pressure. “It’s also possible that fiber may have an independent effect through other processes,” says study author Umed Ajani, M.D.

Whatever the reason, consume your recommended 20-plus grams (g) of fiber with the ABC method: Each day, eat an apple (3 g), two slices of whole-grain bread (4 g), and a large bowl of fiber-rich cereal such as All-Bran (13 g).

Go Out with the Guys

Catch Monday Night Football together and the social interaction may help you beat another CRP booster: depression.

According to a Johns Hopkins University study, men who were depressed had a 64 percent chance of having higher levels of CRP, and a new Duke study showed that people with moderate symptoms of depression had two times higher CRP numbers than their light-hearted counterparts. The causes aren’t clear, but depression may boost norepinephrine, a stress hormone that triggers chronic inflammation.

Bonus: Down a beer with the boys and you may lower your CRP even further, according to a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Wikio

Fit heart can slow brain ageing, US researchers say

elderly man exercising
Heart and brain health appear to go hand in hand
Keeping your heart fit and strong can slow down the ageing of your brain, US researchers say.
A Boston University team found healthy people with sluggish hearts that pumped out less blood had “older” brains on scans than others.
Out of the 1,500 people studied, the team observed that the brain shrinks as it ages.
A poor cardiac output aged the brain by nearly two years on average, Circulation journal says.
The link was seen in younger people in their 30s who did not have heart disease, as well as elderly people who did.
“Start Quote
It is too early to dole out health advice based on this one finding but it does suggest that heart and brain health go hand in hand”
Dr Angela JeffersonLead researcher
Lead researcher Dr Angela Jefferson said: “These participants are not sick people. A very small number have heart disease. The observation that nearly a third of the entire sample has low cardiac index and that lower cardiac index is related to smaller brain volume is concerning and requires further study.”
The participants with smaller brain volumes on magnetic resonance imaging did not show obvious clinical signs of reduced brain function.
But the researchers say the shrinkage may be an early sign that something is wrong.
More severe shrinkage or atrophy occurs with dementia.
Dr Jefferson said there were several theories for why reduced cardiac index – how much blood the heart pumps out relative to body size – might affect brain health.
For example, a lower volume of blood pumping from the heart might reduce flow to the brain, providing less oxygen and fewer nutrients needed for brain cells.
“It is too early to dole out health advice based on this one finding but it does suggest that heart and brain health go hand in hand,” she said.
Experts say a person’s cardiac index is fairly static – meaning it would be difficult to change it if it were low, without doing pretty intensive exercise training.
Dr Clinton Wright, a brain and memory expert from the University of Miami, said: “Whether lower cardiac index leads to reduced brain volumes and accelerates neurodegeneration on an eventual path to dementia is not yet clear.
“To address the health needs of our ageing population, a better understanding of the links between cardiovascular disease and brain structure and function will be required.”
The Boston School of Medicine team will now continue to study the individuals in the trial to see if and how the brain changes affect memory and cognitive abilities over time.

Wikio

Protect Your Heart at Every Age

Follow these easy health tips specific to every stage of aging

You’re never too young—or too old—to start lowering your heart disease risk. Of course,exercisingeating healthy and reducingstress are key throughout life, but due to physiological changes that happen as we age, certain risk factors do become more of a threat.

In Your 20s
Stub Out a Social Smoking Habit
Smoking is enemy number one when it comes to heart disease, and even just a few cigarettes can do damage: New research from McGill University in Montreal found that smoking just one cigarette a day stiffens your arteries by a whopping 25 percent. Plus, smoking erases the hormonal advantage you have from estrogen, which can leave you vulnerable to a heart attack before menopause, explains Dr. Bonow.
Don’t Ignore the Birth Control Factor
Remember that hormonal contraceptives slightly increase the risk of blood clots, so if you’ve ever had one, make sure to discuss it with your doctor before going on birth control. And if you’re currently a smoker, don’t take oral contraceptives, because the combo can be especially dangerous, says Sharonne N. Hayes, MD, director of the Women’s Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Watch Your Alcohol IntakeModerate amounts of alcohol can have a beneficial effect on your heart. (By “moderate,” we mean one drink a day or about 5 ounces—but many restaurants serve far more than that.) Overdoing it can raise triglycerides, increase blood pressure and lead to weight gain, thanks to all those empty calories.
In Your 30s
Get a Grip on Stress
When you’re juggling career and family, it’s crucial to find stress management techniques that work. “Untamed stress has a direct negative impact on heart health,” says Dr. Stevens. “The constant bombardment of adrenaline raises blood pressure and destabilizes plaque in your arteries, making it likely to cause a clot or heart attack.”
Lose the Baby WeightNo, you don’t have to fit into your skinny jeans by the time the baby’s 6 months old, but do aim to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight within one to two years. “Carrying around extra pounds can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors,” Dr. Bonow says. Also remember that it’s easier to lose weight in your 30s than in your 40s, when your metabolism slows down.
Stay Social
It’s important to stay connected to friends and family for the sake of your mood and heart. Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that high levels of loneliness increase a woman’s risk of heart disease by 76 percent. On the flip side, having strong social support can help lower your blood pressure and improve other cardiovascular functions. Set aside time once or twice a week to call friends, or make a monthly dinner date.
In Your 40s
Make Sleep a PriorityThanks to peri-menopause, fluctuating hormone levels can interfere with a good night’s sleep. But not getting at least seven hours of shut-eye regularly can lead to increased blood pressure, low-grade inflammation and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, all of which are harmful for your blood vessels and heart, explains Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, a cardiologist at New York University School of Medicine and coauthor of Heart Smart for Black Women and Latinas. Lack of sleep has also been linked to weight gain. So establish good habits: Turn in (and wake up) at the same time every day—even on weekends—and do your best to relax before going to bed, whether it’s watching a favorite funny TV show or reading.
Reassess Your Risk Factors
You may discover that your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels have changed in this decade, even if you aren’t doing anything differently, says Dr. Hayes. In fact, 22 percent of 40-something women have high blood pressure and 50 percent have high cholesterol (a jump from 38 percent of women in their 30s), according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Also, be sure to get your thyroid checked around 45; hypothyroidism(an underactive thyroid gland), which becomes more common as women get older, can negatively affect your cholesterol levels as well as your heart.
Step Up Strength Training
You start to lose muscle mass more rapidly in your 40s, which causes your metabolism to slow down since muscle burns more calories than fat. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to stave off those extra pounds. To help maintain muscle and keep your metabolism going, aim for two 15-minute sessions weekly of lifting weights, using a resistance band or doing other toning exercises.
Carve out Personal Time“Between the demands of work and family, it becomes even more challenging to find time for yourself in your 40s,” says Dr. Mieres. But it’s crucial to do so—not only to help ease stress but also to guard against depression, which commonly crops up in this decade and can raise your risk of heart disease. “Find at least 10 minutes of ‘me’ time every day to do something—even if it’s just chatting on the phone with a friend—that helps you destress and regroup,” says Dr. Mieres.
In Your 50s
Move More
Around menopause, you tend to gain extra weight around your belly, which can lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and heart strain. Cardiovascular fitness also starts to decline, particularly if you’re not that physically active to begin with. “Unfortunately, at this point, women have to burn more calories to stay at the same weight,” Dr. Stevens says. Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can, walk faster around the mall, or jog to the mailbox to send letters instead of sticking your hand out the car window as you drive by. Small changes really do add up.
Have an ECGSilent heart abnormalities become more common in your 50s, and anelectrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart’s electrical activity can pick them up, says Dr. Goldberg. Also ask your doctor if you should have a stress test; this is especially important if you’re just starting to exercise.
Add Fiber
Besides being good for your cholesterol and blood sugar, pumping up your fiber intake (think whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice and flaxseeds, as well as beans, fruits and veggies) can help prevent constipation, which becomes more of a problem as you get older and your digestive system starts to slow down.
In Your 60s
Get Even More Vigilant About Screenings
After you go through menopause and get older, your blood pressure and cholesterol tend to go up, and blood vessels get stiffer. “Have your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol measured yearly,” advises Dr. Goldberg.
Consider MedicationIf you have hypertension or high cholesterol, the way you’ve been managing it before may not be enough. “As you get older, you may need more aggressive therapy,” Dr. Bonow says. “High blood pressure that was controlled with one medication may now require three to control it.” Talk to your doctor about whether you need to add to or adjust your medications to control your risk factors.
Be Alert to Symptoms
Now is when the first noticeable symptoms of heart disease may appear, so it’s important to know what’s normal for your body and be on the lookout for worrisome signs like chest discomfort, shortness of breath or changes in exercise tolerance—meaning you suddenly feel winded going up a flight of stairs or feel unusually tired for no apparent reason, says Dr. Mieres. If these appear, see your doctor pronto!

Wikio

What Soft Drinks are Doing to Your Body


By Dr. Maoshing Ni – Posted on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, 12:29 pm PDT

Soda, pop, cola, soft drink — whatever you call it, it is one of the worst beverages that you could be drinking for your health. As the debate for whether to put a tax on the sale of soft drinks continues, you should know how they affect your body so that you can make an informed choice on your own.

Soft drinks are hard on your health
Soft drinks contain little to no vitamins or other essential nutrients. However, it is what they do contain that is the problem: caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars — or worse, sugar substitutes — and often food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.

A lot of research has found that consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Why the sugar in soft drinks isn’t so sweet
Most soft drinks contain a high amount of simple sugars. The USDA recommendation of sugar consumption for a 2,000-calorie diet is a daily allotment of 10 teaspoons of added sugars. Many soft drinks contain more than this amount!

Just why is too much sugar so unhealthy? Well, to start, let’s talk about what happens to you as sugar enters your body. When you drink sodas that are packed with simple sugars, the pancreas is called upon to produce and release insulin, a hormone that empties the sugar in your blood stream into all the tissues and cells for usage. The result of overindulging in simple sugar is raised insulin levels. Raised blood insulin levels beyond the norm can lead to depression of the immune system, which in turn weakens your ability to fight disease.

Something else to consider is that most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain and elevates risk for heart disease and cancer. One study found that when subjects were given refined sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. Another study discovered that rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer when compared to rats on a regular diet.

The health effects of diet soda
You may come to the conclusion that diet or sugar-free soda is a better choice. However, one study discovered that drinking one or more soft drinks a day — and it didn’t matter whether it was diet or regular — led to a 30% greater chance of weight gain around the belly.

Diet soda is filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin. These artificial sweeteners pose a threat to your health. Saccharin, for instance, has been found to be carcinogenic, and studies have found that it produced bladder cancer in rats.

Aspartame, commonly known as nutrasweet, is a chemical that stimulates the brain to think the food is sweet. It breaks down into acpartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol at a temperature of 86 degrees. (Remember, your stomach is somewhere around 98 degrees.) An article put out by the University of Texas found that aspartame has been linked to obesity. The process of stimulating the brain causes more cravings for sweets and leads to carbohydrate loading.

Carbonation depletes calcium
Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.

Skip the soda and go for:

• Fresh water

Water is a vital beverage for good health. Each and every cell needs water to perform its essential functions. Since studies show that tap water is filled with contaminants, antibiotics, and a number of other unhealthy substances, consider investing in a quality carbon-based filter for your tap water. To find out more about a high-performance filtration system, click here.

On the go? Try using a stainless steel thermos or glass bottle, filled with filtered water. Enhance the flavor of your water with a refreshing infusion of basil, mint leaves, and a drop of honey.

• Fruit Juice
If you are a juice drinker, try watering down your juice to cut back on the sugar content. Buy a jar of organic 100% juice, especially cranberry, acai, pomegranate, and then dilute three parts filtered water to one part juice. You will get a subtle sweet taste and the benefit of antioxidants. After a couple of weeks, you will no longer miss the sweetness of sugary concentrated juices.

• Tea
Tea gently lifts your energy and has numerous health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong teas all contain antioxidant polyphenols. In fact, tea ranks as high or higher than many fruits and vegetables on the ORAC scale, the score that measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.

Herbal tea does not have the same antioxidant properties, though it is still a great beverage choice with other health benefits, such as inducing calming and relaxing effects.

If tea doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, try adding cinnamon or a little honey, which has important health benefits that refined sugar lacks. For a selection of healthy teas that promote total body wellness, click here. Drink up!

I hope you find the ways and means to avoid soft drinks. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

–Dr. Mao

– – – – – – – – – –

Transform your health and bring quality to your years with Dr. Mao’s natural health products from the Tao of Wellness.

Discover a high-quality water filtration system that will provide you with pure, healthy water.

Order Dr. Mao’s new book Second Spring: Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age.

Learn hundreds of ways for living a long and happy life with Dr. Mao’s book Secrets of Longevity.

Find out amazing ways you can naturally increase your energy and heal common ailments in Secrets of Self-Healing, Dr. Mao’s landmark book on natural healing.

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