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Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Grocery Store

by Cindy Gray

The great thing about natural medicine is that most vitamins and supplements can be obtained from a grocery store rather than from a pharmacy. To be more exact, most health foods can be found in the produce department where fresh fruit and vegetables provide a ready supply of vitamins, minerals, natural fiber and antioxidants.

Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Produce AisleYou may be aware that these foods are the key to weight management, balancing blood sugar and supporting a healthy heart, but scientists have also found they are essential for preventing decreased muscle mass.

What is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is a medical term that refers to a steady loss of lean body mass, specifically muscle and bone loss. It affects around 45% of older adults and generally starts at the age of 40 and accelerates in the mid-late 70s. Although it is most severe in those who are physically inactive, it also affects people who remain fit and active into older age.

Although sarcopenia affects older people, it may be an avoidable consequence of aging, as a recent Korean study showed.

Related: 3 Healthy Foods That Support Healthy Aging

Study on Sarcopenia and Diet

Scientists at Ajou University in the Republic of Korea looked at whether foods high in antioxidants, such as fruit and vegetables, could be associated with sarcopenia in older people. The study focused on data provided by 823 men and 1,089 women who were aged 65 and above. They used questionnaires to obtain information about the participants' diet, along with physical measurements including height and body mass.

The study found that men who had a high dietary intake of both fresh fruit and vegetables had a significantly lower risk of sarcopenia than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. In women, they found that those who had a high consumption of fruit showed a lower risk of decreased muscle mass/sarcopenia. The scientists concluded that a high consumption of fruit and vegetables was inversely associated with the presence of sarcopenia in older people.

Risk of Muscle Loss

The natural aging process means that we generally move more slowly as we age and there is a decline in muscle strength. When extreme, this loss of muscle increases the risk of injury from a fall due to weaker leg muscles, and it can eventually affect the ability to live independently.

Decreased muscle mass is related to bone loss (osteoporosis) as healthy muscles create a positive stress which keeps the bones strong and healthy. A decline of muscle through sarcopenia can start a vicious circle: less lean body mass causes decreased mobility which in turn results in yet more muscle loss.

Sarcopenia has other implications for general health too. The body stores reserves of proteins and metabolites in the muscles. The reason many frail elderly people do not survive a fall, major surgery, or illness such as influenza, is due to their lack of metabolic reserves in their muscles to support their immune system and aid recovery.

Although our western diet provides plenty of protein to fight the decline of muscle and bone mass, studies increasingly show that this must be accompanied by plenty of fruit and vegetables to provide the necessary antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are also needed to age healthily.

Next time you visit the supermarket, make sure you visit the produce aisle and top up your health reserves to stave off sarcopenia before it’s too late.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=PMID%3A+24646604

http://www.brinkzone.com/articles/sarcopenia-the-undiagnosed-epidemic/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527121104.htm

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p62.shtml

 

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Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

by Cindy Gray

For centuries, green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat everything from headaches to depression.  Depending on how it’s made, tea can either be green, black or Oolong, all of which are harvested from the leaves and buds of the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Differences in production methods change each tea’s chemical composition and oxidation levels, which is why they taste and smell so uniquely different from each other.

According to Dr. Christine Horner, green tea is a true superfood, defined as a nutrient-dense food with unusually high levels of healthful ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds and others.Green Tea Show Promise as an Anti-Cancer Superfood

Many studies suggest that green tea consumption may protect against heart disease and some types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Most of the health benefits of green tea are thought to be due to powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which include the catechin, although exactly how they benefit our health remains unknown.

Roughly one-third of a typical cup of green tea is made of catechins. Of these, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most prominent catechin and has been studied in great detail in terms of its health potential.

Laboratory and animal research on the effects of green tea in prostate cancer have been promising:

  • EGCG blocks the stimulating effect of androgen (male sex hormone) on human prostate tumor cells, slowing their growth and spread and increasing the rate at which they die.

  • Human prostate cancer cells pre-treated with EGCG were more likely to die when exposed to radiation than cells not treated with EGCG before radiation.

  • Mice bred to develop prostate cancer that were given green tea catechins for 24 weeks did not develop prostate cancer; in other words, green tea catechins appeared to delay the development of prostate cancer.

  • Mice given green tea polyphenols at different ages to match different stages of prostate cancer were tumor-free longer than water-fed mice; and mice that consumed green tea the earliest benefitted the most. Further, these polyphenols caused high levels of cell death, possibly limiting cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

So far, population studies and clinical trials on humans have shown mixed results: 

  • Of 60 men with high-grade prostatic neoplasia treated with green tea catechin capsules for a year, nine men in the control group were diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to one man in the green tea catechin group; suggesting that green tea catechins lowers risk of prostate cancer in high-risk patients. A two year follow-up showed that this effect was long-lasting.

  • Patients scheduled to undergo radical prostatectomy were given green tea, black tea or soda five times daily for five days. Prostate cancer cells treated with blood taken from patients after they drank tea grew and divided more slowly relative to cells from patients before they drank tea.

Given the powerful anti-cancer potential and other known health benefits of this centuries-old superfood, isn’t it time you added green tea to your diet today?

 

Source:

Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

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Can Vitamin D Work Without Magnesium?

by Cindy Gray

According to extensive research, vitamin D deficiencies play a major role in the development of breast, prostate and colon cancer as well as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.  While people are now beginning to realize the full extent of health benefits that vitamin D has to offer, they may not be getting the benefits of this vitamin without supplementing their diets with magnesium.

In order to receive the health benefits of vitamin D, its cofactors must be present, including magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron.

Does Vitamin D Work With Magnesium?Magnesium is a vital nutrient because it converts vitamin D into its active form. In fact, the effectiveness and benefits of vitamin D are greatly undermined in the absence of adequate magnesium in the body, yet most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.

The importance of magnesium as a nutrient required for proper vitamin D metabolism has been recognized by several studies as follows:

  • Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D metabolism

  • Magnesium influences utilization of vitamin D by activating cellular enzyme activity. All the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium

  • Magnesium has a possible role in vitamin D's effect on the immune system. Low magnesium has been shown to lower production of vitamin D's active form

  • Several studies show that magnesium is also necessary for vitamin D's beneficial actions on bone

  • Vitamin D inhibits calcium deposition in arteries, and magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can prevent calcium buildup into plaque in arteries. The combination of magnesium and vitamin D helps to prevent clogged arteries by drawing calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into bones, where it is needed to build healthy bone structure and prevent osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.

 

Source:

Can Vitamin D Work Without Magnesium?

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Can Vitamin D Benefit You Without Magnesium?

by Cindy Gray

You may already know about the many powerful health benefits of having sufficient levels of vitamin D in your body. However, you may not be getting many of these benefits if you suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Vitamin D is made by skin cells in response to sunlight. It is also found naturally in fatty fish, fish liver oils and egg yCan Vitamin D Benefit without Magnesium?olks; as well as in fortified grains and dairy products.

Along with helping to build strong bones by maintaining proper calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, vitamin D also appears to protect against many other health problems.

For instance, having adequate levels of 25-hydoxyvitamin D (the biologically active form of vitamin D) can lower the risk of a first heart attack and peripheral vascular disease, along with reducing risk for many cancers.

Low levels of 25-hydoxyvitamin D are associated with increased likelihood of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure (BP). Many studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency also plays a major role in the development of breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well as arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.

Increasing vitamin D intake to about 800 international units (IU) per day has been reported to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30%.

While more and more people are learning about the powerful health benefits offered by vitamin D, they may not be getting many of these benefits if they suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form. It acts with and is essential to the activity of vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D’s effectiveness is significantly reduced without adequate levels of magnesium in the body. However, most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.

Nutrients act to enhance each other. To get the health benefits of vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron must also be present in suitable amounts.

The importance of magnesium for proper vitamin D metabolism has been confirmed by several studies as follows:

  • Magnesium is essential for the metabolism of vitamin D

  • Magnesium influences how the body uses vitamin D

  • All enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium (enzymes are special proteins that carry out chemical reactions in the body)

  • Magnesium may play a role in vitamin D's effects on the immune system

  • Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D's beneficial actions on bone structure

Last but not least, in its active form in the presence of magnesium, vitamin D stops calcium from being deposited in arteries, interfering with plaque formation or atherosclerosis, the first critical step towards developing heart disease.

Magnesium and vitamin D work together to draw calcium out of blood and soft tissues back into bones, where it is needed to build a healthy, strong bone structure; thereby preventing osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.

If you feel you’re not getting enough vitamin D or magnesium, it may be a good idea to look for a supplement that gives you both of these vital nutrients and add it to your daily supplement regime right away.

 

Source:

Can Vitamin D Benefit You Without Magnesium?

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How to Improve Blood Circulation with Alternative Medicine

by Health News

Low Blood Pressure Natural Treatment - Improve Blood CirculationPoor blood circulation can have a serious impact on one’s overall health.  For example, poor blood circulation means less blood flowing to your brain and typically means you have low blood pressure. This alone comes with a variety of significant symptoms, such as dizziness, problems thinking or even headaches.  In fact, poor blood circulation can impact every organ in your body and may even explain tingling and a lack of sensation in your arms and legs.  In short, poor blood flow can be quite serious.  Luckily, there are many natural health solutions that one can take in treating poor circulation.  In this article, we will examine a few of these low blood pressure natural treatments and natural health products.

Bonito Peptide

The bonito peptide is one natural dietary supplements that is currently being used for improving blood circulation.  This supplement is believed to contribute to general heart health and may have the ability to help regulate one’s blood pressure.  This compound is derived from the bonito fish.

L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is a compound derived from the amino acids methionine and lysine.  It plays a vital role in the metabolism and has enjoyed great success as a nutritional health supplement.  Generally considered to be safe, L-carnitine is often used to treat heart conditions.  It is believed that L-carnitine can be used to increase blood flow as well, which could make it a potentially useful supplement for those with blood circulation issues.

Nattokinase

Enzymes are vital for life and can provide a wide variety of health and medical benefits.  For example, the bromelain enzyme derived from pineapples can be a very effective anti-inflammatory.  Likewise, nattokinase is another enzyme with a variety of interesting properties.  This enzyme is extracted from a food called natto

Natto is a Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.  Nattokinase is often used as a blood thinner, and its role in overall heart health is being explored.  However, nattokinase is not for everyone and has been known to have negative interactions with aspirin.  Anyone considering taking nattokinase should consult with his or her doctor.

Garlic

You might be tempted to believe that there is little that garlic can’t do!  Garlic has been sought after for generations as a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent.  Garlic is, in fact, so complex and beneficial that it literally has different properties depending on whether or not its been cut or crushed.

Additionally, garlic is believed to even have anti-cancer properties and is high in an assortment of vitamins and minerals.  It should come as no surprise that garlic may even be a heart healthy food as well.  A great deal of attention has been given to garlic’s potential as a heart healthy food, as it may protect the heart from oxidative damage and might lower bad cholesterol levels.  Further, garlic has the ability to positively impact artery walls.  All in all, garlic is a great pick for those looking for a natural way to increase blood flow.

Of course, following a healthy diet comprised largely of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat protein choices will do wonders for your health, regardless of whether or not you have any heart or circulation issues.  Following a diet rich in these foods will not only keep your heart healthy and your blood flowing, but will also give your body the nutrition and anti-oxidants it needs to fight off aging and disease as well.

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7 Green Superfoods With Cancer-Fighting, Heart-Healthy Benefits

by Cindy Gray

SUPERFOODS FOR CANCER-FIGHTING, HEART-HEALTHY BENEFITSEat your greens! How many times have you heard that growing up? Well, it turns out green foods really are some of the healthiest foods on the planet.

For instance, these seven green Superfoods are chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavor - so they should always have a place of honor at your table:

  1. Brussels sprouts - are a cruciferous vegetable, related to cabbage. Rich in vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, these high-fiber vegetables are also a good source of amino acids and are considered delicious roasted with olive oil.

  2. Green tea - is brimming with cancer-fighting antioxidants and supports heart health, helps digestion and speeds up metabolism. Tea experts swear by loose-leaf teas for the best flavor.

  3. Avocados - are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol and keep you feeling full for longer. They are a good source of vitamins E and C, potassium and lutein. You can add avocados to a salad, use them to make guacamole, or simply eat them plain.

  4. Kiwi fruit - contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps with digestion and conveys feelings of fullness. It has double the vitamin C content of an orange and is very high in potassium. It’s also a good source of vitamin E and folate. Kiwi fruit has a delicious tangy flavor and is ideal for a fruit salad.

  5. Spinach - has double the fiber of other greens, making it a great choice for health-conscious eaters. It’s rich in vitamins A and K and is a good source of iron and folate. Spinach provides antioxidants like beta-carotene, which supports heart health, fights cancer and keeps your eyes healthy. Raw spinach is delicious in salads, or you can add a few handfuls to scrambled eggs, soup or pasta. You can even drink spinach by tossing a handful into a fruit smoothie or a green drink!

  6. High-fiber kale - along with being a good source of vitamins A, C and K, kale also contains calcium and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Kale is rich in carotenoids, which help protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. Most people prefer to lightly steam or cook kale.

  7. Broccoli - is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and calcium. Like all cruciferous vegetables, it’s also rich in cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Broccoli is very high in fiber, which helps with satiety and supports weight maintenance. It's delicious when lightly steamed or roasted with olive oil and a dash of salt.

However you like your greens - whether raw, cooked or mixed into soup, it’s important that you make them a part of your daily diet so that you can fully benefit from their cancer-fighting, heart-healthy properties. And don't forget, an easy way to add "green superfoods" to your diet is with a quality green powder supplement. 

Go green today and you will look and feel great every day!

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5 Fats You Should Be Eating

by Health News

Do you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is really a myth?

Most people believe that low-fat and fat-free products are healthier, but it’s simply not true. On the other hand, some fats are healthy and may even hold the secret to how to increase energy levels and promote weight loss. 

Some healthy fat may hold the secret to how to increase energy levels

Your body requires fat in order to function properly. Not only that, many necessary vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. This means your body can only absorb them in the presence of fat.

These good fats will not only will you feel better - they will also satisfy your hunger without depriving your body of essential nutrients:

  1. Nuts are chockfull of amazing nutrients, healthy fats and protein. They are also rich sources of protein and unsaturated fats as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart-healthy plant omega-3 fat. Nuts are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that boosts immune function, promotes wound healing, improves blood vessel function and helps lower risk of heart disease. Further, they contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
  2. Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are also rich in folate, which lowers the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E.  Foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.
  3. Coconut products offer a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties along with improving digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It also provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and boosts the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy and weight management.
  4. Saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which can be easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost metabolism, promote weight loss and increase HDL, the ‘good’ protective cholesterol in the body.
  5. Olive oil is a very healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll (which accounts for part of the color in olive oil), carotenoids, and vitamin E.  Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Including olive oil in the diet can also help to maintain a lower, healthy weight.
  6. Seeds contain beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants, fiber and minerals.

 

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Top 3 Vitamins and Minerals to Support a Healthy Heart

by Health News

When it comes to heart health and aging healthy, most of us understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet rich in high-fiber vegetables and whole grains, and getting regular aerobic exercise.  But do you know what is good for high blood pressure? Your heart, arguably the hardest working organ in your body, needs a steady supply of certain vital vitamins? Here is a list of some of those vitamins and minerals, and why the getting proper balance of them is essential for optimal heart health.

What is good for high blood pressure?Calcium.
More than any other muscle in your body, you rely on your heart to contract regularly—and that’s a huge understatement. Calcium is vital for muscle contractions. Calcium is critical to healthy aging because it is stored in the bones, where it is released regularly to maintain a consistent level in the bloodstream. If you don’t consume enough calcium, you can get a condition called hypocalcemia, whose symptoms include muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, leafy greens and broccoli. Many foods are now fortified with calcium, such as bread, juice and cereals.

Iron.
This mineral is essential for heart health because it delivers its supply of oxygen through the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Without oxygen, your heart cannot function. If you don’t have enough iron in your body, you can get a condition called anemia. Severe anemia can actually lead to heart failure. Sources of iron include animal meat, seafood, molasses, tofu, spinach, peas, raisins and beans. Iron-fortified products include breads and cereals.

Magnesium.
Magnesium is essential for maintaining heart rhythm. But with magnesium, balance is extremely important. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms and weakness. Too much magnesium can cause the heart to stop beating! Consume green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and whole grains for a healthy supply of magnesium.

Talk to your health care practitioner about what is good for high blood pressure, and how much of these essential vitamin mineral supplements you need to keep your heart in top form and to set yourself on the path to healthy aging.

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Healthy Holiday Eating: What Makes a Recipe Healthy?

by Health News

Healthy Eating - What Makes a Recipe Healthy?

A trend toward health and fitness is on an upswing, and one important component is a nutritious diet that provides needed vitamins and minerals, is satisfying and naturally boosts energy throughout the day. What is it that makes a recipe healthy? Here are some questions to ponder when it comes to deciding whether a recipe is healthful or hurtful. These are particularly useful during the winter months for people who are concerned with healthy holiday eating.

What type of cooking method is used? Steer clear of recipes that call for frying or deep frying, and focus on the following methods instead. The healthiest cooking method is steaming, where food is placed in a perforated container and suspended above boiling water. Besides a light coating of cook spray, baking and roasting are healthy and typically do not require adding extra fat to a dish, and stir-frying and sautéing can be accomplished with a minimal amount of healthy oil. Grilling and broiling are healthy methods because they allow fat to drip away from food, and braising and poaching involve gently simmering an ingredient in liquid until cooked.  Avoid microwaving food.

What is the calorie count in the recipe? Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain the weight you have, it is important to understand how many calories your body requires and find recipes that correspond to this amount. To determine the energy needed in calories to maintain your current weight, multiply your weight in pounds by 12. For a one pound per week weight loss, cut this amount by 500 calories per day. For a two pound per week loss, reduce the amount by 1000 calories per day. Note: It has been shown that two pounds per week is a healthy weight loss that has the best potential to be sustained.

Is the recipe made with nutritious ingredients? The healthiest ingredients include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and poultry, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados. Note: fats contain two times more calories per gram than proteins or carbohydrates, so it is important to keep portion sizes under control.

Unhealthy ingredients include sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, white flour, processed foods and saturated and trans-fats. Trans-fatty acids occur naturally in meat and dairy products but can be artificially made (by hydrogenating oils) to boost the shelf life of some products. High trans-fat consumption has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease and certain cancers. Read labels, and avoid any products containing partially hydrogenated oils. In place of table salt, use herbs and spices to season recipes, and if needed, try all-natural sea salt.

Here are some guidelines based on advice from the American Heart Association for a typical 2000 calorie-per-day diet. Remember to adjust values to your daily calories and divide by the number of meals you are eating per day to arrive at approximate amounts for each recipe.

  • Dietary cholesterol should not exceed 300 mg per day.
  • To keep full and satisfied, an individual should strive for at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
  • Proteins should be limited to 175 grams or less per day, total carbohydrates should not exceed 300 grams, and fats should be limited to 65 grams or less per day.
  • A healthy diet should contain at least 3,500 mg of potassium daily, but sodium intake should not exceed 2,400 mg per day (those on a low-sodium diet should limit each recipe serving to 140 mg or less).
  • Limit sugars to 6 to 10 percent of total daily calories.
  • For heart-healthy recipes use 3 grams or less total fat (with 1 gram or less saturated fat), 20 mg or less cholesterol, and 480 mg or less sodium per serving.

Take advantage of the healthy holiday eating tips above when looking for healthy recipes that are chock full of nutrients and packed with all-natural energy! Bon Appétit!

Healthy Aging starts with a healthy gut. Free guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion.

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Which Supplements are Best for You?

by Health News

Which Supplements are Best? Get a Healthy Digestive SystemOne of the best ways to get a healthy digestive system is by taking dietary supplements. In fact, more than half of American adults take dietary supplements, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you know which supplements are best for you personally? Here is a rundown on some of the most common natural supplements and why you should include them in your daily diet.

Multivitamins

Those with a busy lifestyle who rely on fast food and microwave meals will almost certainly have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. While daily supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet in any way, multivitamins do make sure that trace elements and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are being consumed on a regular basis.

The best multivitamins are those specifically formulated for men or for women. Women need higher levels of iron, calcium and folic acid. A well blended formula for women can resolve issues such as irritability, mood swings, bloating, lethargy, cramps and breast tenderness while men benefit from ingredients such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto for healthy prostate function.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to significantly improve health when taken on a regular basis. From preventing heart disease to easing joint pain and arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties, a good quality fish oil should be on everyone's supplement list. 

Some people avoid taking fish oil supplements due to the aftertaste. Choose a good quality brand from a reputable supplier.  If you still get nasty repeats, store the fish oil in the refrigerator and take them cold; and try taking them before going to bed. This allows the capsules to get deeper into the body before being digested which eliminates the problem. A good quality fish oil will also be properly distilled and processed to remove toxic metals and pollutants from the fish oil.

Calcium

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and it is not just women that suffer from this "brittle bone" disease. It is too late to take a crash course once symptoms have been diagnosed. Our bodies need plenty of calcium (with vitamin D to help the body break it down) from an early age and throughout life. Calcium is also necessary for strong teeth as well as supporting the heart and nervous system.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a relative newcomer to the health market yet its comprehensive benefits make it a top seller. It helps prevent heart disease and metabolizes energy from food. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without the harmful side effects of prescribed medications. CoQ10 is found naturally in every cell in our body, but as we age it naturally diminishes and needs replenishing. It has been found to help prevent migraines, reduce inflammation and increase energy. The ideal daily supplement is around 100 mg per 100 pounds of body weight, although higher doses are beneficial to counter chronic fatigue. 

Once you have established a few basic supplements, continue to read and learn more about specific supplements. The best way to judge which are best for you is by trial and error. If you are receiving the correct nutrients and supplements, your body will feel fit, healthy and full of energy.

Want more tips on how to get a healthy digestive system? Get our FREE guide: The Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

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Broccoli: Role In Cancer Prevention

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you probably already know, consuming fruits and vegetables regularly aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system and is very beneficial for your overall health and may even extend your lifespan. What many people don’t realize is just how good these foods are for you and how exactly they benefit your health.

For instance, broccoli should be in the weekly menu of every person on the planet. That’s because the entire family of cruciferous vegetables - including broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower - Broccoli: Role In Cancer Preventioncontain lots of fiber, along with many vitamins and minerals - all of which are believed to be why cruciferous vegetables help to prevent colon cancer and aid in contributing to a healthy digestive system.

Not only that, cruciferous vegetables contain the protective compounds isothiocyanates and indoles, which help to fight disease by reducing inflammation and preventing DNA damage.

Scientific research shows a strong correlation between eating broccoli at least three times a month and a significant reduction in incidence of various types of cancer.

For instance, in a study from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, researchers found that individuals who ate broccoli three times a week showed a 40 percent reduction in their rates of bladder cancer.

Similarly, women with breast cancer diagnosis who increased their consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, reduced their risk of cancer recurrence by 35 percent. Amazingly, they also cut their mortality rate by 62 percent!

Along with the US, researchers in Switzerland and Italy have studied data collected across various studies and reached similar conclusions about the positive link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer.

The most notable results were a 32 percent reduced rate of kidney cancer among individuals who ate cruciferous vegetables at least once a week. Similarly, a 17 percent reduction in oral, breast and colorectal cancers as well as a 28 percent reduction in esophageal cancer were seen in association with cruciferous vegetable consumption.

In other words, people who eat cruciferous vegetables roughly once a week are on average much healthier with a significant reduction in cancer risk relative to their counterparts who rarely, or never, eat vegetables.

The difference in their cancer rates is so significant that everyone - including you - should seriously consider increasing their cruciferous vegetable intake. 

Additionally, research shows having a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Fruits and vegetables also have a positive effect on blood sugar - helping to keep appetite in check and maintain a healthy digestive system. Bottom line? Fruits and vegetables are an essential ingredient to your overall health and well-being.

Source: Broccoli: Role in Cancer Prevention

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Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that barley grass is a nutrient-packed ‘green superfood’ with multiple health benefits - including clearing up skin problems, healing ulcers and lowering the risk for heart disease and stroke? In fact, many people concerned with cardiovascular health have started adding barley grass to their diet as a high blood pressure natural treatment.

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, barley and wheat are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as they grow further, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin levels fall sharply while levels of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: High Blood Pressure Natural Treatment

Amazing, but true - an ounce of barley grass, wheatgrass and other green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables!

A concentrated source of several vitamins and minerals, barley grass is also rich in calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

Back in 2002, researchers in Taiwan examined the effects of supplementation of young barley leaf extract - along with vitamins C and E - on the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in patients with type 2 diabetes. LDL oxidation is one of the first, critical steps in the development of atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease.

Thirty-six patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the Taiwanese study. Each patient received either extract of young barley leaf, vitamin C plus vitamin E alone, or barley extract plus the 2 vitamins daily for 4 weeks.

At the end of the study, the researchers observed that the vitamin E content of LDL increased significantly following supplementation, especially for the group that consumed barley leaf plus the 2 vitamins.

Atherosclerosis is responsible for heart disease and associated deaths in much of the world’s population. LDL oxidation is a critical first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E lower atherosclerosis risk by reducing oxidative stress and preventing LDL oxidation.

This study shows that supplementation with extract of young barley leaf - especially in the presence of vitamins C and E - is likely to prevent LDL oxidation, thereby protecting patients with type 2 diabetes against vascular diseases including heart disease and stroke.

Talk to your doctor to see if taking barley grass supplements as a high blood pressure natural treatment is right for you.

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Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist? 

According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and other ingredients proven to benefit health.Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood  | Institute for Vibrant Living

On the list of superfoods is one you may not have even heard of. Studies have shown that the superfruit Açaí berry - found growing on a very special Amazon palm tree - is one of the most nutritious and powerful superfoods in the world.

Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a blend of berries and chocolate. Nature's perfect energy fruit, açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, but you can find it in health food stores, typically in juice form. A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, which comes without the harmful effects of added sugar.

Royal purple in color, açaí pulp contains:

  • A remarkably high concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A mutually enhancing combination of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A near-perfect essential amino acid complex along with with valuable trace minerals that are essential for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is enriched in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid helps essential omega-3 fats enter cells - and together, they help make cell membranes more supple and strong.

By keeping the cell membrane supple, our body’s hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently inside and outside cells, keeping us healthy and disease-free. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state.

As you already know, inflammation is believed to play a role in almost every modern disease including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more - while also contributing to the adverse health effects of aging.

Source

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Five Health Benefits Of Cinnamon

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The key to healthy aging is maintaining a healthy diet!

You may think of cinnamon as a winter spice - but this fragrant, potent bark can actually play an important role in your summer dishes, along with offering many health benefits in the process.

The key to healthy aging is maintaining a healthy diet! Here are five reasons you should include cinnamon in your diet

Here are five reasons you should include cinnamon in your diet, regardless of season:

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties - essential oils found in cinnamon bark regulate blood flow, prevent clumping of blood platelets, and lower the release of certain cell membrane acids that contribute to inflammatory diseases, particularly arthritis. Additionally, a recent study showed that athletes who regularly ingested cinnamon powder showed a decrease in muscle soreness. Also, did you know that cinnamon can ease menstrual symptoms? Cinnamon contains the natural chemical cinnamaldehyde, which is known to balance hormones, reduce heavy bleeding and alleviate cramps.
  2. Blood sugar control - a recent study showed that adding cinnamon to carb-heavy meals increased the time it took to empty the stomach after eating. In other words, the spice reduced the rise in blood sugar that is normally associated with such meals. Previous studies had already indicated that cinnamon lowers total cholesterol concentrations. Regulated blood sugar levels work to stabilize both energy levels and mood - so adding cinnamon to your diet not only reduces your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, but also prevents the onset of fatigue or depression typically seen after carb-heavy meals.
  3. Antimicrobial actions - cinnamon prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi, making it a natural food preservative.
  4. Boosting brain activity - simply smelling cinnamon can increase cognitive functions such as memory and visual motor speed. When ingested, cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate. Elevated sodium benzoate levels in the brain have been linked to a boost in brain activity as well as lowered risk for some brain disorders.
  5. Delivering essential nutrients - cinnamon provides the body with fiber, calcium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and more - all of which are known to improve overall body and heart health.

So, are you ready to spice up your summer?

Just add a few pinches to your cereal, stir it into your oatmeal or sprinkle over peanut butter toast - and you’re good to go.

Source: Five Health Benefits of Cinnamon.   

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What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink Consumption?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Energy drinks are very popular nowadays, especially with teens and athletes - perhaps you’re a fan as well.

A recent study looked at the benefits and risks that come with regular energy drink consumption. In 2003, 16% of teens reported consuming them regularly - however, consumption had risen sharply to 35% by 2008. In fact, one study found that 50% of students drank at least 1-4 of these drinks in a typical month.

A sharp increase in energy drink-related emergency room visits led to demands that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) look into the effects of energy drinks on health.

Currently, the amount of caffeine added to energy drinks is not regulated by the FDA, so labeled amounts are often inaccurate. Also, the claims made by manufacturers on the ability of such drinks to maintain energy levels have not been verified.

The study authors examined the most common ingredients - caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, sugars and B vitamins - and assessed their effects on health.

Levels of caffeine, the main ingredient, vary widely between brands. Energy drinks may contain higher levels of caffeine than indicated on the label.

 Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink ConsumptionA typical cup of coffee contains 80-120 milligrams of caffeine, while tea has 50 mg and a 12-ounce cola roughly 65 mg. On the other hand, a 16-ounce Red Bull contains 154 mg while a 24-ounce Wired X505 contains 505 mg. While there is no prescribed safety limit for caffeine, excessive consumption has been linked to high BP, premature birth and even possibly sudden death.

Guarana is a South American plant that contains a caffeine-like compound called guaranine. One gram of guarana is equal to 40 mg of caffeine. In spite of this, guarana is usually not included in the total caffeine tally. And since the FDA has not tested guarana for human consumption, its risks and benefits are almost completely unknown.

Sugar in the form of sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup ranges from 21 grams to 34 grams in every 8 ounces of a typical energy drink. Teens who consume 2 or 3 drinks daily could be taking in 120-180 mg of sugar - or 4-6 times the maximum recommended daily intake - placing them at risk for obesity and dental problems.

Taurine is a common amino acid that supports brain development and regulates mineral and water levels. The amount of taurine consumed from energy drinks is higher than from a normal diet - as yet there is no evidence that this is unhealthy. In fact, many energy drinks that claim to be healthy contain excess, unregulated amounts of vitamins or minerals you can normally get from your diet.

The problem is, you never really know how much of these ingredients you are consuming, because the quantities are masked behind the term 'proprietary blend' or 'energy blend.'

Ginseng is believed to boost athletic performance, strengthen the immune system and improve mood. According to the study authors, there is not much proof of this - and there isn't enough ginseng in energy drinks anyway.

B vitamins and other additives in energy drinks can improve mood and even fight heart disease and cancer, but again their amounts in energy drinks aren’t enough to have any meaningful effects.

Adolescent consumers have no idea what these ingredients do. They assume that because they can buy it off the shelf, it must be safe for them. In reality, very little is known about the risks and benefits of various additives in energy drinks and how they affect health when consumed over the long term. Not much is known either about how energy drinks and alcohol interact as well as how they affect medications and antidepressants.

Therefore, study authors have urged physicians to be aware of energy drink consumption and suggest educating both teens and their parents on the potential negative health consequences of consuming energy drinks regularly.

Sources: What’s in Your Energy Drink?

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Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

by Nancy Maneely

There are so many great things about this recipe, it’s hard to know where to begin!

Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad | Institute for Vibrant LivingThe basics are lean, high-protein chicken breast and one of our favorite nutritional superfoods, spinach. The fats, which you can adjust to your taste and dietary preference, consist of just enough oil to sauté the chicken and a little mayo or yogurt for the dressing. Strawberries bring additional antioxidant-rich nutrients, as well as color and flavor. Toss in some almonds for essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. And, the lime juice, garlic, ginger and black pepper not only contribute unbeatable flavors to this wonderful salad, they provide an extra antioxidant boost as well!

This is a tasty summertime treat your whole family will love. And not even the kids will suspect your real motive for serving this is to offer them a healthy alternative to fat and sugar laden, overprocessed meals. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet, season with garlic powder and cook 10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger and milk.

3. Arrange spinach on serving dishes. Top with chicken and strawberries, sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with dressing. Season with pepper to serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 242
Total Fat: 17.3g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 117mg
Total Carbs: 7.5g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4g
Protein: 15.8 grams

Source: Allrecipes.com

 

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Healthy and Delicious Pasta Alternatives

by Nancy Maneely

If you're watching your weight (and overall health) you’ve probably ditched the white-flour pasta along with white bread as part of your everyday fare. And that’s a good thing. Still, once in awhile you may miss those steaming bowls of pasta from your childhood. Who doesn’t?

Pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

But most pastas are made with refined wheat flour which is stripped of its essential nutrients. It’s filling, but mostly empty calories. Here’s the good news: If you want to know how to increase energy levels and still get your pasta fill, there are some delicious and healthy pasta options to explore. Try these with your favorite tomato sauce or just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

How to Increase Energy Levels: Healthy Pasta Alternatives

  • Spaghetti Squash – Slice in half and bake, then shred the inside with a fork into noodle-like strands. Ultra-low in calories, squash is high in vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium for heart health.
  •  Zucchini – Shred with a peeler and steam for a quick spaghetti substitute.
  • Quinoa – This superfood from the Mayans is high in protein, vitamin B and delicious in salads as a pasta substitute.
  • Soba Noodles – These heart healthy Japanese noodles are made from buckwheat and are high in protein.
  • Black Bean Spaghetti – If you can get past the notion of eating black pasta, this stuff is wonderfully high in protein – more than 20 grams per serving! – and fiber.
  • Rice Pasta – Asian markets are the place to shop for these inexpensive noodles made from whole grains.
  • Whole Grain Wheat – If you really must have wheat pasta, choose this kind. It is rich in vitamin B and isn't stripped of its fiber and minerals.

What’s your favorite pasta dish? Share with us!

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Micronutrients: What are their Healing Powers?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?The rate of obesity has doubled in America over the last 30 years and has been accompanied by a massive health crisis - literally a nationwide epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Health experts are now convinced that this is because of the nutrient-deficient and calorie-rich US diet, not to mention crazy lifestyle, stress and lack of sleep.

And given the way US healthcare is structured, prevention by practicing a healthy diet and lifestyle is very unlikely. In fact, even most health caregivers receive very little nutritional training in medical school.

There is no doubt that solving this health crisis is going to take a lot of discipline and a complete dietary about-turn.

According to nutritionists, the root cause of chronic diseases is simple: lack of enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. The typical American diet couldn’t be further removed from this ideal. On average, Americans eat 60% processed foods and 30% animal products, leaving only 10% for raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies.

While most people understand something about macronutrients, they know very little about the undervalued, but much more important micronutrients - the 14 essential vitamins, 16 essential minerals, and thousands of phytochemicals.

These micronutrients do not contain calories and our body needs them only in tiny amounts, but their role in maintaining health cannot be overestimated.

What’s more, some health experts now believe that the major micronutrient in food is not vitamins or minerals, but phytochemicals. In fact they believe micronutrients are literally a fountain of youth that function to improve human health and longevity.

There are literally tens of thousands of phytochemicals in natural, whole, vegetable-based foods. Micronutrients are essential in helping to protect us from disease - and if we are already sick, they help in recovery.

Every tomato, head of cabbage, piece of lettuce, cucumber, bean or sprout has hundreds - even thousands - of nutrients critically important for health.

And while supplementing with micronutrients can be helpful, the makeup of nutrients in unprocessed fruits and vegetables is so complex that it can’t be replicated synthetically - and why would you need to, when they are already so plentiful in naturally occurring green vegetables and fruits?

The standard American diet provides a meager 4% of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables - not to mention that processing removes delicate phytochemicals found in raw produce, while animal products don’t have them at all.

So if you’re concerned about taking care of your health or prone to falling ill, you may want to consider adding more raw and lightly cooked fresh veggies - along with fresh fruits - to your daily diet.

Source: The Healing Power of Micronutrients.

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Oats: New Cardiovascular Health Benefits Revealed

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Oats - Foods for High Blood Pressure TreatmentMany people use healthy foods for high blood pressure treatment, and now you can add another food to your list: oats!

At a recent scientific session at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, eleven top scientists from around the world spoke of the new bioactive compounds they had identified in oats and emphasized their many benefits for heart health.

According to them, there is growing evidence that a class of phenolic compounds - known as avenanthramides or AVEs, found only in oats - possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties. Overall, their research strongly suggests that AVEs in oats play an important role in protecting against heart and cardiovascular disease.

Eating whole grains is already known to be associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. So far, these health benefits were believed to be because of the relatively high levels of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant phytochemicals found in whole grains.

For example, the soluble fiber beta-glucan is well known for its ability to lower both total cholesterol as well as the so-called ‘bad’ or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

These new studies now show that the heart health benefits of eating oats go beyond fiber and beta-glucan - and that AVEs, the new kids on the block, also provide additional heart-protective benefits.

According to new research data, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of oat AVEs are partly responsible for the positive association between oats and heart health by protecting the fragile inner walls of blood vessels.

Oat AVEs have also been shown to block production of inflammatory cytokines believed to be responsible for forming harmful fatty streak formation in arteries. AVEs also suppress atherosclerosis, the first critical step in development of heart disease.

Overall, these latest research findings revealed the influence of the processing of oats on the glycemic response, the functionality of oat beta-glucan in maintaining overall and heart health, the antioxidant potential of oat beta-glucan, the benefits of eating whole grains on chronic disease and how oats help to improve blood glucose control and lipid metabolism.

In short, this high-level scientific session revealed the far-reaching health benefits provided by regular consumption of this simple grain.

As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Given the many health benefits of whole grains and especially oats - isn’t it time you added them to your diet today?

Source: Oats: New Heart Health Benefits Revealed.

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Top Health Tips for a Healthy Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you know, diet plays a huge role in determining if your blood pressure levels are normal or frighteningly high. If you have read about blood pressure, then you know that the best high blood pressure diet is an alkaline diet that mirrors the Mediterranean style of eating.

Learn what foods to eat as part of a high blood pressure diet.Basically, that includes low- to moderate-acid fruits and vegetables, fish, lean protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and some dairy. Pretty straight-forward, right?

But did you know that there are also three really fun—and in one case, downright exotic—foods that have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure levels. These include chocolate, hibiscus tea, and beets.

Download our FREE Healthy Heart Tips and learn more about how adding chocolate, hibiscus tea and beets to your diet can help keep your heart healthy.

Additional high blood pressure diet tips:

Limit Unhealthy Fats
Saturated fats and trans fats are the cause of raised cholesterol which in turn causes a build-up of plaque in your arteries – the cause of heart attacks. Every packaged food shows its exact content on the label so you can start to learn which products to avoid. 
 
Butter, margarine, cream and shortening are high in saturated and trans fats, and anything made from them such as pastry, cookies, gravy, cream-based sauces and fried foods. Substitute butter with a low-fat substitute and choose monounsaturated fats such as canola oil or olive oil for cooking, in moderation.
 
Choose Low-Fat Protein
Protein is essential for a healthy body, but cut out the fatty options. Substitute fatty meat, beef burgers and processed meat products such as sausages with low fat options such as chicken breast, lean ground meats or soy products. Fish is heart healthy as oily fish has omega-3 fatty acids which actually lower blood fats called triglycerides. Change to low-fat milk and use egg whites or egg substitute in place of cholesterol-laden egg yolks.
 
Eat More Fresh Vegetable and Fruit
Bulky and high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fresh fruit are a good source of dietary fiber. Raw vegetable croutons or fresh fruit make it easy to have a heart-healthy snack. Stir-fry vegetables and fruit salad made with a little sugar-free apple juice make an excellent meal or dessert in themselves. The things to avoid are high sodium canned vegetables, fried vegetables, canned fruit in syrup and fruit with sugar added.
 
Reduce Salt (Sodium)
Sodium has been found to cause high blood pressure which raises the risk for heart disease. The recommended daily maximum intake is 2,300 mg which is about a teaspoonful. Few of us add that much salt at the table, but salt is present in many processed foods. Canned soups, prepared meals and savory snacks, nuts and chips are very high in sodium so check the label and restrict your intake accordingly. Buy reduced sodium versions of salt, soy sauce and canned soups where possible.
 
Substitution rather than total abstinence is the best way to tackle your new heart healthy diet. Choose whole grain bread, flour, rice and cereal rather than refined “white” products which have had all the fiber and goodness processed out. Whole grains help regulate healthy blood pressure which leads to a healthy heart. Pies, cakes, corn bread, doughnuts, buttered popcorn and high-fat crackers should be a very rare treat for those serious about keeping their heart healthy.