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A Fishy Solution to Smoking Cessation

by Cindy Gray

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of disability, disease and death in the United States.  Every year 480,000 Americans die premature deaths from smoking.  Despite these grim statistics, most smokers find it difficult to quit. However, if you’re looking for some natural ways to quit smoking, you’re in luck. New research out of Israel shows consumption of omega-3 fatty acids could significantly reduce cravings and provide a safe and natural way to help smokers kick the habit.

Natural Ways To Quit Smoking with Omega-3 Fatty AcidsMoth to the Flame

Why is it so hard to quit smoking? Tobacco use is a chronic disease and smokers quickly become addicted due the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When they inhale or ingest the nicotine, in some way it causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which stimulates the body’s central nervous system.  Just like cocaine and heroin, nicotine increases levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls the pathways to the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. 

Many smokers long to quit permanently, but most fail after repeated attempts. The withdrawal symptoms are terrible and are often a combination of the following:

  • Intense cravings for nicotine

  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems

  • An inability to focus or concentrate

  • Increased appetite 

Those who seek treatment to stop smoking may have some initial success, but often relapse after a stressful event, or they dislike the side effects of anti-smoking medications and stop using them. 

The Study

In a strictly controlled study conducted in Israel, the test subjects were 48 smokers between the ages of 18 and 45 who smoked a daily average of 14 cigarettes.  All the participants had been smoking an average of 11 years and were diagnosed with a moderate dependency on nicotine.  The test participants were divided into two groups: one that received omega-3 capsules and one that received a placebo.

The study was conducted as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research project, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the omega-3 capsules and who received a placebo.  None of the participants were asked to change their smoking habits in any way.

Throughout the 30-day study, levels of nicotine cravings and the number of cigarettes smoked per day were recorded by the participants.  At the beginning of the study neither group showed any difference in smoking habits.  However, after 30 days the omega-3 supplement takers had reduced their average cigarettes smoked per day by two.  They also recorded greatly reduced nicotine cravings.  Even another 30 days after they stopped taking the omega-3 supplements, those participants reported less intense cravings.

The group taking the placebo showed no measurable decrease in nicotine cravings nor did they reduce the average number of cigarettes smoked per day.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help

Levels of essential fatty acids like omega-3s are reduced in the brain by smoking.  Being deficient in these levels appears to cause damage to the nerve cells, interrupting the transmission of feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in the brain.  Smokers often having difficulty making decisions and experience reduced feelings of satisfaction by their accomplishments or efforts because of a lack of this vital nutrient.

Related: The Dangers of Krill Oil

What’s worse, not only is tobacco oppressing good feelings in the brain, it also interferes with your flight-or-fight response.  Just one stressful event can lead to a relapse for smokers trying to quit because of their reduced ability to handle stress.

Omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce cravings for nicotine and help the brain cope better with pressure and stress.  Smoking has already been linked to depression and other mental disorders, so it’s not surprising that regular tobacco users experience less satisfaction and have more difficulty dealing with pressure, rejection or stress.

Safe, Natural and Healthy

Using omega-3 fatty acid supplements is one of the best natural ways to quit smoking because it is inexpensive and easy to obtain.  Plus, omega-3s have a long list of other health benefits besides helping you to quit smoking, such as reducing your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and some cancers.  It also helps keep your skin clear and supple and your hair shiny and strong; two things that also are greatly damaged by smoking.

Great food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Fish (especially salmon and trout)

  • Flax, Olive, Canola, Coconut and Hemp Seed Oils

  • Avocados

  • Eggs

  • Walnuts

Since the study participants were taking larger doses than is generally recommended, it would be virtually impossible to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through food alone to help with smoking cessation.  A supplement combined with adding foods rich in the essential acid is the best way to keep those levels high in the brain and help stave off nicotine cravings.

 

 

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5 Tips for a Healthy Digestive System

by Health News

While it might seem simple to grab a bite to eat, the digestive process is actually quite complicated. The food must travel through the intestines and then various processes work together to eliminate it from the body. If you have been having digestive issues like gas, cramps, constipation or acid reflux, there is really no reason to start taking medications before trying some simple cures. The truth is that there are a variety of natural cures, which should result in a healthy digestive system.

Probiotics
One simple remedy is yoghurt or kefir. Both these foods have beneficial bacteria that are essential to a healthy digestive system. If you don’t eat dairy, the good news is that yoghurt or kefir are both available in soy and coconut. Feel free to opt for the supplement option instead, as you can buy probiotics and take a capsule a day for the same effect. Plus, people who take probiotics are far less likely to get sick.

Pineapple
If you love pineapple, you are in luck. This fruit relieves gas through its powerful digestive enzymes. This fruit contains bromelain, which helps with digestion and breaks down proteins. Pineapple is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce any swelling that might be taking place in your intestines.

Chamomile
Chamomile is not only a calming tea; it also helps to sooth digestive ailments. It relaxes more than just your mind, and can relieve bloating, gas, diarrhea and more. Incidentally, ginger tea can also help with digestive problems including nausea, and cramps.

Turmeric
Turmeric is the yellow spice that is often used in Indian foods. It is related to ginger. It is another anti-inflammatory and aids fats to breakdown in the body due to the fact that it stimulates bile. Turmeric can also protect the liver and prevent ulcers. While you are taking turmeric for your digestive issues, you may get other benefits as well, as the spice could help with fever, infections and heart disease. Studies also show it may fight cancer. In addition to being used for Indian meals, turmeric is also available as a supplement. As you can see, even if you weren’t having digestive issues, there is no reason not to add a powerhouse spice like turmeric into your diet.

Water
Due to the hectic nature of day-to-day life, people often neglect to get enough water. However, water is crucial to a healthy digestive system. The number one reason for constipation is lack of water. When the body is constipated, the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and the balance of bacteria in the gut gets out of whack.

Often part of the reason that people have digestive problems is that they quickly consume their meals and don’t give enough attention to chewing and taking small bites. If you are looking to relieve your digestive issues, be sure to eat slowly and pay attention to the flavor of your meal. This will not only help you have a healthy digestive system, but you'll enjoy your food as well.

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5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart

by Not in Use Not In Use

What are some of the best high blood pressure remedies?

Check out this list of 5 nutrients with proven scientific benefit for the cardiovascular system.


1) Omega-3 fatty acids - One of the best ways to help prevent heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated fat and to eat foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids). Studies suggest that EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fish oil has been shown to decrease dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides by an average of 29 per cent and lower cholesterol by 12 per cent.

2) Vitamins A, C, E and Beta-carotene - Deficiencies of Vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene have been linked to heart disease. All of these nutrients have antioxidant effects and other properties that may benefit the heart. Good natural foods with Vitamin A are fish oil, liver, and egg yolk. For Vitamin C, try eating citrus fruits, strawberries, peas, red peppers, and kiwis. Sources for Vitamin E include garbanzo beans, avocados, almonds, sunflower oil, tuna, and muesli. Lastly, eat spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes for natural sources of beta-carotene. These items can also be taken as all natural supplements.

3) Selenium and Zinc - Selenium and zinc help the body absorb antioxidants such as Vitamins, A, C, and E, and they are essential to the antioxidant process, ridding the system of free radicals. It is found in lentils, wholemeal bread, sardines and Brazil nuts.

4) Allicin - Studies have shown that allicin, which is found most abundantly in garlic and also in onions and leeks, lowers blood pressure, may help preventing blood clots from forming in coronary arteries, and is known to have blood-thinning properties, all of which keeps the heart in good shape.

5) Folic acid - Folic acid helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with high blood levels of homocysteine. It is found mainly in green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, fruits and roots.

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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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Natural Heart Health: Test Your Doctor

by Health News

Natural heart health starts with the conversations you're having with your doctor. Once you get to a certain age, your physician should talk to you about heart health, including high blood pressure treatments if you have high blood pressure. If you are younger but have noticeable risk factors for heart disease, they need to approach the subject. When you have concerns about your heart and your health, bring them up. Let’s see how your doctor responds. Do they:

Heart Health & High Blood Pressure Treatments: Test Your Doc

• Ask you about your diet?
• Offer ways to reduce your risk factors?
• Perform blood work to determine various levels like cholesterol, insulin and C-reactive protein?
• Do a thorough examination?
• Ask about family history?

If your doctor is on top of things, any one of the above points can get the conversation started on heart health. But, don’t be shy, join in on the conversation. If you are afraid you might forget your questions, write them down ahead of time.

Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. What do the cholesterol numbers mean? What is my blood pressure? Are there alternatives to medication? What if I experience side effects?

You can begin online. All the information you ever wanted to know is there. You can employ your doctor to explain what you don’t understand. Use it as a guide to getting the answers you want from your doctor not to replace your doctor.

Get Additional Resources

Your doctor can help you by recommending supplements for high blood pressure, nutritionists, internists and other professionals to help you protect your heart. Some people don’t know enough about supplements for high blood pressure to choose the best option and nutrition to choose better foods. Or, they don’t know how to get started with exercise. Your doctor has resources to lead you in the right direction. After a complete physical, they can also tell you what type of exercise is right for you.

Your doctor works with you to protect your heart. If you have questions, ask. The important thing is to go and see a doctor to get the ball rolling. Participate in your own heart health. 

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Heart Health Benefits of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

by Cindy Gray

According to nutritionists from Penn State, increasing your daily omega-3 fat intake, whether you get it from marine or plant sources, will very likely lower your risk of getting heart disease.  There’s plenty of evidence to support the heart healthy benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are marine-derived omega-3 fats. However, much less evidence exists about the positive effects of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fat.

Naturally, the health benefits reported for EPA and DHA are stronger because when supplements of EPA and DHA were tested, EPA and DHA was the only difference between the treatment and control groups.  On the other hand in the ALA studies, there were dietary differences between the treatment and control groups that went beyond ALA itself.Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats for Heart Health

ALA is found in flaxseed and its oil, vegetable oils and in some nuts including walnuts and almonds; and it’s available in supplement form. In general, omega-3 fats are considered essential for human health, but our body does not produce them, therefore we must consume them regularly to take advantage of their many health benefits.

In reviewing existing scientific data on the subject, the Penn State researchers have come to the conclusion that ALA is likely to be just as effective in preventing cardiovascular disease as EPA and DHA have proven to be in the past. In fact, health experts now believe that dietary recommendations should be amended to increase the amounts of ALA consumed. However, they also note that randomized controlled clinical trials need to be conducted in order to determine the exact amount to be consumed.

Given that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., it makes sense that learning what can be done to prevent heart disease is important and relevant for all of us.

 

Source:

Heart Health Benefits Of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Looking for more foods to add to your healthy high blood pressure diet?

According to a new study led by King's College London, a diet that combines unsaturated fats such as those seen in olive oil, nuts and avocados along with nitrite Looking for more foods to add to your healthy high blood pressure diet? and nitrate-rich vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery and carrots, can protect against high blood pressure (BP).

These findings may help to explain why the so-called ‘Mediterranean diet’ has previously been shown to lower BP, along with reducing other risk factors for heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil for cooking and is typically rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain bread and unrefined cereals. Dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry are consumed only in low to moderate amounts, with little or no red meat and moderate consumption of wine.

Combined with a healthy lifestyle such as increased physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking, this diet has previously been shown to lower death rates caused by heart disease.

Key to this protective effect appears to be that when unsaturated fats are combined with nitrite and nitrate-rich foods, compounds called nitro fatty acids are formed.

Researchers in this study investigated whether nitro fatty acids lower BP in mice. Specifically, they examined whether nitro fatty acids can inhibit an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase, which is known to regulate BP.

As the study results show, consumption of nitro fatty acids lowered BP in normal mice. On the other hand, mice that were genetically engineered to be resistant to inhibition of soluble Epoxide Hydrolase still had high BP despite being fed the same diet.

This study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet has to do at least in part from the generation of nitro fatty acids, which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower BP.

These findings may help to explain why the Mediterranean diet - supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts - has been shown to reduce the risk and incidence of cardiovascular events like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.

Given the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, why not adopt it today?

Source: How Olive Oil and Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure (BP).
 

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Do Omega-3 Fats Benefit Cardiovascular Health?

by Health News

Many people come to our health blog with the question “What is good for high blood pressure?”

According to new research from several studies, regular intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is linked to a 35% lower risk of cardiovascular death in older adults; and may also benefit brain health and function in people of all ages. Specifically, omega-3 PUFAs reduced brain damage in infants after stroke, increased math scores in teenagers and boosted memory in young adults.

What is good for high blood pressure? Omega-3 Fats Benefits

First, an observational study at Harvard Medical School with nearly 2,700 participants showed that healthy older adults who consumed 400 mg per day of the omega-3 PUFAs EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) + DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have up to a 40% lower risk of death from heart disease. Also, they tended to live two years longer after the age of 65.

This study clearly shows that higher levels of omega-3 PUFAs mean lower total mortality rates, contributing to a longer, healthier life. 

The second study at Columbia University used an animal model to see whether omega-3 PUFAs would influence brain recovery after pediatric stroke - which affects up to 1,700 U.S. infants each year.

The study authors found an almost 50% reduction in brain tissue loss in mice treated with omega-3 PUFAs or pure DHA immediately after a stroke, when compared to controls. What’s more, brain damage in these mice was significantly reduced for up to eight weeks.

In other words, omega-3 PUFAs may help to protect brain cells in human infants and may be useful for treating pediatric stroke.

Next, a study of 28 countries reported that higher DHA levels in the milk of nursing women was associated with better math scores in their children at the age of 15. Interestingly, only two-thirds of the highest-scoring countries reported DHA levels above the worldwide average of 0.32%, suggesting that other as yet unknown factors may also be involved.

Finally, healthy, young adults also appear to benefit from omega-3 PUFA consumption, according to a study from New Zealand. DHA supplementation was associated with improved response times for both autobiographical and working memory in these participants.

Along with supplements, fish oil and krill oil, cold water fatty fish such as sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna contain plenty of omega-3 PUFAs. Vegetable sources include flax seed, almonds and walnuts.

Other related blog posts...

5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart

Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The “Brain Pill” of the Future

What's the #1 Supplement Every Man Should Take?

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How To Cleanse Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit

by Cindy Gray

According to a recent study, pomegranate extract may prevent—and even reverse!—the progressive thickening of coronary arteries known as atherosclerosis, which invariably leads to heart disease. Pomegranate seeds and juice are rich in heart-healthy antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenol antioxidants—which are found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, soy milk, dark chocolate, tea and of course pomegranate—are known to lower levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, protect blood vessels and lower blood pressure (BP).One Delicious Fruit Can Cleanse Your Arteries

In the present study, mice with a genetic susceptibility toward spontaneous coronary artery blockages were given pomegranate extract in their drinking water for two weeks. The treatment reduced the size of atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta, while also decreasing the overall proportion of coronary arteries with atherosclerotic plaque.

Remarkably, pomegranate extract treatment also had the following beneficial effects in these mice:

  • Lowered levels of oxidative stress

  • Reduced levels of chemical messengers associated with inflammatory processes in the arteries

  • Less lipid accumulation in heart muscle

  • Reduced cardiac enlargement

  • Normalization of electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities

This study adds to already existing clinical research confirming that pomegranates can help unclog arteries.

For instance, the results of a three-year clinical trial published in 2004 showed that daily consumption of pomegranate juice reversed carotid artery stenosis by up to 29% within one year. Remarkably, blockages in the control group increased by 9% during the same period, indicating that pomegranate's artery unblocking effects were even greater than first believed.

Pomegranate's protective value in cardiovascular disease is likely because of the following experimentally confirmed properties:

  • Anti-inflammatory - like many other chronic degenerative diseases, inflammation plays a significant role in cardiovascular disease.

  • BP lowering - pomegranate juice is a natural blocker of angiotensin converting enzyme and enhances the activities of nitric oxide, both well-known pathways for reducing BP.

  • Anti-infective - plaque buildup in the arteries is often associated with viral and bacterial infections, including hepatitis C and chlamydia. Pomegranate is known to have a broad range of anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

  • Antioxidant - blood lipids become heart disease-promoting through oxidation. LDL, for instance, is harmless as long as it does not get oxidized and pomegranate reduces oxidative stress in blood. One study in mice found that this decrease in oxidative stress was associated with a 44% reduction in the size of atherosclerotic lesions.

Pomegranates are just one of the healthiest fruits provided by Mother Nature.  Enjoy a glass of pomegranate juice regularly, or check out the powerful superfruit supplements available for a mix of life-giving all-natural phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Source:

How to Clean Your Arteries with One Simple Fruit

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High Blood Pressure Causes: How Sleep Deprivation Affects your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

High Blood Pressure Causes: Sleep Deprivation & Your HealthNo one feels good after getting a poor night of sleep. However, lack of sleep is much more serious than just feeling bad for a day. New studies are showing how sleep deprivation may be one of many potential high blood pressure causes.

For example in one study, researchers recruited 20 healthy young adults and measured their BP at rest and then after a stressful task - in this case, giving an impromptu speech defending themselves for a supposed transgression, either running a stop sign or taking someone’s wallet.

A week later, after staying up all night, study participants returned to take the tests again. Systolic BP, the top number on a BP reading, climbed about 10 points higher when fatigued study subjects gave their speech, compared to subjects who spoke after a good night’s sleep.

This suggests that not getting enough sleep may lead to the development of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can raise blood pressure, as can stress. But not many studies have examined what happens when sleep-deprived people also experience stress.

These results need to be replicated by larger studies - because not only is stress common nowadays, so is being sleep deprived - and one probably reinforces the other. For instance, if you’re experiencing a lot of stress, you are more likely to experience insomnia.

Another study looking at 331 healthy male medical students found that their BP when awake correlated negatively correlated with sleep duration.

According to the CDC, one in three Americans has high BP - a condition with few symptoms, often called the “silent killer” - because it can lead to strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, along with damaging the kidneys and other organs.

Further, nearly one in five Americans has uncontrolled hypertension - meaning that it is untreated or that that medications or other treatments have failed to bring it down.

In such a scenario, if someone is having difficulty with their BP being high, maybe getting six to seven hours of sleep daily is the way to lower their BP.

Other related articles:

Best Health Supplements for High Blood Pressure

Natural Heart Health: Making Sense of Blood Pressure Readings

High Blood Pressure Supplements Benefits

Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure at Home

 

 

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Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For years, we’ve heard that eating or drinking anything that is canned or comes in plastic is bad for your health. But do you really understand why? The quick answer is bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA is one of 800 different endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), compounds that interfere with the action of hormones in the body. Two of the most prolific EDCs in our environment—and often in our daily activities of life—are phthalates and BPA.

Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

The reason comes down to our reliance on plastic. While phthalates are used to soften plastic and make it more flexible, BPA is used to harden plastic.

When it comes to BPA specifically, it is a known cancer-causing xenoestrogen, meaning it is an estrogen-mimicking chemical. Sadly, this carcinogen (which has been declared “toxic” in Canada) is used daily here in the U.S. to harden plastic bottles and as an inner liner for many canned goods.

In addition to increasing your risk for cancer, BPA has also been linked to reproductive issues and even elevated glucose level. And now, according to a study published in Hypertension in February 2015, you can add increasing blood pressure levels to the list of BPA side effects.

In this randomized, crossover study, researchers asked 60 adults age 60 and older to visit their study site on three separate days. On one visit, the participants drank a beverage from two glass bottles. The second visit, they drank the same beverage from two cans, and on the third visit, they drank the beverage from one glass bottle and one can.

On all three occasions, researchers tested urinary BPA concentration, blood pressure, and heart rate variability two hours after the beverages were consumed. They found that BPA levels increased after drinking the canned beverages by more than 1,600 percent versus the glass containers.

While heart rate variability was not significantly different with any of the container options, researchers found that when participants drank the two canned beverages, their systolic blood pressure increased by an average of 4.5 mmHg (as compared to the glass containers). Researchers concluded, “The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.”

This one is a no-brainer. If you are consuming beverages or food from plastic containers or cans, be sure they are BPA-free. If they are not, do not use them. Period.

Next, do a mild detox to rid your body of the likely BPA stored in your cells. This means using a daily greens powder supplement along with a good liver-cleansing supplement that contains milk thistle (200-400 mg), turmeric (50-100 mg), and dandelion (150-300 mg).

Finally, if blood pressure is a concern for you, try using a few targeted nutrients to keep your blood pressure healthy in the normal range. This includes nattokinase (80-160 mg), cranberry concentrate (60-120 mg), and/or acetyl-L-carnitine (250-500 mg).

Free Download - 15 Healthy Recipes

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How to Beat High Blood Pressure with Amino Acid Supplements

by Health News

How to Beat High Blood Pressure with Amino Acid SupplementsWhile heart disease remains at the top of the list of dangers associated with aging for women, scientists are slowly but consistently discovering how to beat high blood pressure and prevent heart disease.  A recent article published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggest that taurine, an amino acid found in relatively high amounts in meat, fish, eggs and other foods, may be protective against heart disease in women with elevated cholesterol levels. Taurine possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although studies have uncovered a heart benefit for the amino acid in animals, this is the first study of taurine and coronary heart disease risk in humans.

For the study*, New York University School of Medicine associate professor of epidemiology Yu Chen, PhD, MPH and her colleagues analyzed data from subjects in the NYU Women's Health Study, which included over 14,000 women between the ages of 34 to 65 from 1985 to 1991. Dr. Chen's team calculated average taurine levels measured in two pre-diagnostic serum samples from 223 participants who developed coronary heart disease and 223 women who had no history of the disease over the study's twenty year follow up period.

Although no significant relationship between taurine and coronary heart disease was found for the entire study population, when women with high cholesterol (total cholesterol greater than 250 milligrams per deciliter) were analyzed, an interesting correlation came to light. Women with high cholesterol whose intake of taurine was among the top one-third of subjects had a 61 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those in the lowest third. According to the authors, the data also suggest a protective effect for taurine against the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

"Our findings were very interesting," commented Dr Chen. "Taurine, at least in its natural form, does seem to have a significant protective effect in women with high cholesterol."

If you’re interested in getting more taurine in your diet, consult your health care professional about increasing your intake of healthy foods like fish and lean meats.

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Glutathione - the Master Antioxidant

by Cindy Gray

Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the body. Chemically, it is a very small molecule that is made within the body itself. It is considered to be an important antioxidant because it is located inside every cell in the body. In general, antioxidants, the most well-known of which are vitamins C and E, are important for health because they neutralize harmful free radicals which can build up in cells and cause damage. Along with its own antioxidant actions, glutathione recycles vitamin C and other antioxidants. It also helps the liver remove foreign chemicals such as drugs and toxins. It has widespread health benefits because it is present in immune cells and drives the functions of the immune system, whose job is to fight off disease and infections.Optimize Overall Health with Master Antioxidant Glutathione

Food sources that either contain glutathione or its precursors to help the body produce more include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, peaches, watermelon, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, tomatoes, peas, garlic, onions, red peppers as well as meat, fish and green leafy vegetables. Clearly, people who consume a varied, healthy diet get enough glutathione from their diet. On the other hand, those with poor diets may not get enough glutathione. Sufficient levels of selenium, a micronutrient found in meat, seafood, egg yolks and certain plants, and alpha-lipoic acid, another antioxidant, are both necessary to maintain glutathione levels. Glutathione production increases during exercise. However, strenuous exercise, alcohol, and drugs such as acetaminophen, deplete glutathione from the liver.

Glutathione performs many important roles in the body, including:

  • Managing cell growth and division

  • DNA synthesis and repair - protecting DNA when it’s being made and repairing damaged DNA

  • Protein function - helping to maintain proteins in their active, functional forms

  • Amino acid transport - moving many substances, including amino acids, in and out of cells as needed

  • Enzyme activation and catalysis - helping enzymes transform into their active state and increasing the efficiency with which they function

  • Detoxification - breaking down toxins in the liver. The enzyme glutathione S-transferase binds to toxins such as carcinogens, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides and makes them water-soluble, so that they can be removed from the body as bile, sweat and urine. Glutathione-related enzymes also detoxify cancer-causing chemicals so that they can be eliminated without damaging the cell or DNA.

Our body is constantly under attack from harmful chemicals called ‘free radicals’ created by a process known as ‘oxidative stress’. Some free radicals are generated externally, while others are made in the body itself. When they come in contact with DNA or other cellular components, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule and ‘steal’ its electron. A molecule that loses an electron then becomes a free radical itself and attacks the next nearest stable molecule, thus setting off a chain reaction that can potentially cascade through hundreds of molecules. Glutathione performs a vital role in repairing damaged DNA by replacing missing electrons.

Glutathione can exist either in so-called ‘reduced’ or ‘oxidized’ states. In healthy cells and tissue, more than 90% of total glutathione is in the reduced form. An increased ratio of the oxidized-to-reduced-forms is considered to be a significant marker of oxidative stress and is used to assess cellular toxicity. Oxidative stress in blood vessels is associated with many diseases. Glutathione manages the cell’s oxidative stress response.

People who have cancer, AIDS, cancer and other very serious diseases are almost invariably found to be depleted in glutathione. Although the reasons for this are not completely understood, it is clear that glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health. Laboratory studies have shown that glutathione has the potential to help fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is believed to be one of the major underlying causes of many of the diseases associated with old age. The body’s immune and detoxification systems cannot function without glutathione, which is an essential part of staying young, active and healthy. Within the immune system itself, glutathione enhances the activity of immune cells and also functions as an antioxidant within them. Some health experts believe that raising and maintaining glutathione levels can help minimize the risk of diseases.

There is extensive evidence that antioxidants play a protective role in cardiovascular disease, a chronic disease that is worsened by oxidative stress and inflammation. Long-term, large-scale, population-based studies have found that higher levels of glutathione, as well as vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, results from large clinical trials do not support long-term use of single antioxidant supplements for prevention of cardiovascular disease, due to their null or even adverse effects. Overall diet quality rather than single nutrients have been shown to have protective effects.

Glutathione has been shown to increase energy levels, strength and endurance. Our energy levels are a result of many factors, including the biochemical reactions taking place within cellular mitochondria. Glutathione ensures that mitochondria remain fully charged. Clinical trials have shown that lowered or depleted glutathione in the mitochondria leads to cell death, suggesting that proper glutathione levels are vital for cellular and overall health.

While there are many strong arguments in favor of a therapeutic use of glutathione, the actual amount of research on glutathione as a supplement is very limited. Health experts disagree on who should take glutathione or its precursors. Some say everyone should take it in order to optimize overall health. Others say it should be reserved for people with cancer, or those who eat poorly and are thus unlikely to be getting much glutathione or its precursors in their diet. However, everyone agrees that people with severe diseases known to be associated with low glutathione levels, such as AIDS, heart disease and cancer are likely to benefit from glutathione supplements.

Reference

http://www.immunehealthscience.com/glutathione.html

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Curcumin - Heart Supplement Benefits

by Not in Use Not In Use

Looking for beneficial ingredients to add to your high blood pressure recipes? Look no further than turmeric.

high blood pressure recipes

Since ancient times, traditional Ayurvedic medicinal practitioners in India have known about the health benefits of tumeric - a plant with trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers, related to ginger, that flourishes in Southeast Asia. Its roots are bulbs that produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. A common staple spice in Asia, tumeric was always praised for its healing properties as an anti-inflammatory, as well as for digestive and cardiovascular ailments.

In the 21st century, we now know that there are scientific explanations for the benefits from tumeric. Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid found in tumeric (and that which makes tumeric the color yellow), is a powerful antioxidant, a polyphenol, that combats the effects of free radicals in the body. And while curcumin has been linked with cancer prevention, detoxification, and countering inflammation, some of the most intriguing evidence revolves around its potential for heart health supplement.

Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant activity could be the cause for its ability to improve the circulatory system and thus cardiovascular health. It also can be effective in reducing cholesterol, a leading cause of heart attacks, and has been shown in studies to protect rats from adverse effects following a stroke. Other research shows curcumin’s effectiveness in countering heart enlargement and subsequent heart failure.

Turmeric, the main source of curcumin, can be taken as a delicious additive to your next meal. In fact, it is a principle ingredient in curry, those tasty dishes found in Indian restaurants. But if Indian food is not to your liking, they can be found in health supplements. Curcumin is further proof of the abundance of natural remedies found in common foods, known about for centuries.

Add turmeric to your high blood pressure recipes today to improve your overall heart health!

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Natural Heart Health: Making Sense of Blood Pressure Readings

by Health News

Take regular blood pressure readings to figure out if you have a normal blood pressure.Many people want to ensure they have a normal blood pressure. Learn how to make sense of blood pressure readings in this article.

Blood pressure is one of the primary vital signs for health. It refers to the pressure applied to vessel walls by circulating blood in the body. Blood pressure measurements generally gauge total pressure at the brachial artery in an individual’s upper arm which is the major vessel that transports blood away from the heart. The actual blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure, for example, 120/80. The systolic number measures arterial pressure when the heart beats, and the diastolic number measures arterial pressure between heartbeats, when the heart muscle is at rest and filling with blood.

There are five basic categories of blood pressure readings that span from normal blood pressure to hypertensive crisis. The blood pressure measurement determines what type of treatment an individual may need to normalize blood pressure. For accuracy, it is important for a health care provider to take two measurements at two different times.

The American Heart Association suggests that an individual get screened once every two years starting at age 20 if blood pressure is in the normal range.

The following lifestyle changes are recommended for keeping blood pressure in check.

Lose extra weight and watch your waist measurement: According to studies, men should have a waist measurement below 40 inches, and women should take care to keep waist size below 35 inches.

Get regular exercise: 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day can help to lower blood pressure.

Eat a healthy diet:  Consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products, and skip foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Consider all-natural supplements to ensure adequate daily nutrients.

Reduce sodium consumption: Those who are 51 years of age or older should reduce sodium to 1500 mg per day or less.

Increase potassium:  Added potassium in the diet or through supplements can reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure.

Experts estimate that one in four American adults will get high blood pressure. This is a health problem that can raise risks for heart and kidney disease and stroke. Because high blood pressure typically exhibits no symptoms, it is important for adults to get checked regularly. Once it develops, high blood pressure generally lasts a lifetime but it can be prevented and controlled with a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
Looking for some high blood pressure remedies? There’s no question that, when it comes to healthy aging, specifically lowering cholesterol, your first step should be to eat healthy and exercise. But when you want that extra boost, these three nutrients should be at the top of your list.High Blood Pressure Remedies: 3 Heart-Healthy Nutrients
 
CoQ10—Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound found in every plant and animal cell. Research has shown that CoQ10 also prevents the oxidation of LDL—the pivotal step in artery clogging—and, along with vitamin E, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Plus, many older adults are frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class which significantly deplete CoQ10 stores, so it is particularly critical that you use CoQ10 if you are taking a statin. Aim for 100 mg of CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) daily.
 
Essential Fatty Acids— Essential fatty acids (EFAs), the omega-3's EPA and DHA, are fats that your body does not produce and you must therefore obtain through diet or supplementation. They are important for the production of series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, potent hormone-like anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. EFAs also help decrease inflammation. Aim for 200 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA every day.
 
Quercetin—Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoid family—a subgroup of flavonoids known for their potent antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. It also helps to maintain the strength of small blood vessels and reduce vascular fragility. In addition to its ability to reduce bleeding and bruising, quercetin is beneficial in preventing “sticky” platelets and promoting relaxation of the entire cardiovascular system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for 250 mg a day.
 
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Should You Be Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home?

by Not in Use Not In Use

One of the quickest and easiest ways to gauge one’s general health is by monitoring one’s own blood pressure. The simple rhythm of your pulse can say a lot about you: what your lifestyle is, what might be wrong with your diet, what your normal blood pressure is, what your health problems are, and what you can do about them.

One of the quickest ways to see if you have normal blood pressure is to check it at home.

Simply put, your blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. Readings are given as one number over another; the top number is the systolic, the bottom the diastolic. Systolic refers to the blood pressure when the heart is contracting, while diastolic is when the heart is in a state of relaxation.  Generally, a normal blood pressure reading is around 120 over 80. Any systolic reading over 140 is considered high, as is any diastolic reading over 90.

It’s a good idea to check your blood pressure regularly to avoid hypertension, especially if you have a history of heart problems or suffer from obesity. Seniors, whose blood pressure can vary should monitor their own blood pressure, as should diabetics, who must maintain tight blood pressure control.

Lastly, even relatively healthy people can benefit from knowing what their normal blood pressure is on a regular basis. Being conscious of one’s own health is a first step to greater body knowledge and freedom from ailment. It may also add as an incentive to quit habits that exacerbate hypertension, such as smoking or caffeine use. Conversely, it may encourage healthy habits that lower your pulse:

  • conscious deep breathing
  • eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • taking natural blood pressure supplements, such as fish oil or folic acid

Sometimes the simplest of information can lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle. 

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Heart Health Tips: Do Walnuts Benefit Your Heart?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Looking for high blood pressure diet foods? A new study from the University of Munich Medical Center in Germany indicates that a diet enriched with walnuts may reduce heart disease risk naturally, by lowering levels of two major risk predictors.

Walnuts: High Blood Pressure Diet Foods

Walnuts are made up mainly of polyunsaturated fats. They are an excellent natural source of the heart-healthy plant-based omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which is one of the reasons they top the list of high blood pressure diet foods.

In this study, researchers investigated the effects of daily walnut consumption on blood lipid levels. They found that levels of non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) levels - both major predictors of heart disease risk - were significantly reduced in study participants.

Healthy men and women consumed walnuts as part of their normal diet for eight weeks. They simultaneously reduced intake of saturated fats and increased consumption of polyunsaturated fats, resulting in beneficial changes to their lipid profile.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for roughly 1 in every 4 deaths. Everyone knows that a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet play an important role in heart disease prevention.

This study shows that people can benefit their heart health naturally by supplementing their diet with walnuts, which reduce the levels of non-HDL cholesterol and ApoB, two of the most important risk factors for heart disease.

Previous research has already indicated that walnut consumption can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP), two other major risk factors for heart disease - along with managing other known risk factors such as endothelial function, oxidative stress and inflammation.

In fact, the evidence for walnuts being a great source of natural heart health is so extensive that in 2004 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved one of the first health claims for a whole food. Similarly, the European Union (EU) has also officially acknowledged the health benefits of walnuts - the only nut to ever be credited with such claims.

This study adds to previous research and confirms that walnuts are a natural source of multiple, powerful heart health benefits including managing levels of cholesterol and blood lipids.

 

Read related blog posts:
Is there a Connection Between Diet Soda and Stroke Risks?
Can Cherries help lower Your Risk for Heart Disease?
What is Cholesterol?
5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart
Can Dietary Fiber Banish Inflammation?

 

Source:

Natural Heart Health with Walnuts.

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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?