Heat health is not just about diet & exercise. Stress plays a significant role too. You can't avoid stress, but you can learn to manage it effectively. And that's important. Unbridled tension means that your adrenaline levels are constantly elevated. This increases blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and can damage blood vessels wit inflammation. One study of 17,500 women found that job strain increases the risk of heart attack by 40%.View Thread
Another marker you should know for heart health is your blood pressure. If you have hypertension, which is a reading of 140/90 or above, your risk of heart attack goes up by 186% and stroke by 262%.
If you have prehypertension, which means that your numbers are between 120/80 and 140/90, it ups your odds of having a heart attack by 76% and stroke by 93%.
What can you do to control blood pressure? Cut down on salt (most comes from processed foods and fast foods.) Increase foods high in potassium such as bananas. Manage your stress. Lose weight, if you need to. And work with your doctor. You may need medication to control blood pressure.View Thread
Why not make this a month where you improve your cardiac health. The first thing is to know your numbers so that you can estimate your risk. Start with your cholesterol. If your total cholesterol is over 240, your heart attack risk goes up by 72%.
It is even more important to know your cholesterol breakdown. Goals for LDL ("bad" cholesterol) are under 130 (or under 100 if you have one or more additional heart disease risk factors.) How can you improve LDL? Reduce the intake of saturated and trans fat, eat more fruits and veggies, and lose weight, if you need to.
The goal for your HDL ("good" cholesterol) is 60 or above. How to increase HDL? Exercise, exercise, exercise. Then have a glass of wine, eat fish and chew on a few nuts.View Thread
Recently it was found that a University of Connecticut researcher had falsified the outcomes of a study very favorable to red wine. While this is very disappointing, before you give up that glass of wine you should understand that a number of other studies suggest that alcohol - including red wine - can be cardioprotective when taken in moderate amounts. Obviously, if you need to lose weight, have high triglycerides or have an addictive personality, don't use alcohol at all. Too many empty calories and other problems. But for many people, alcohol can be beneficial. But there is no magic in red wine. It's the alcohol - whether in wine, beer or scotch - that is effective. So while the University of Connecticut study may be flawed, there are numerous other studies that favor the moderate consumption of alcohol.View Thread
We've all heard that "breakfast is the most important meal." It gets you ready for the workday; it helps prepare kids to learn in school. Now a study done at the University of Texas has reinforced that point regarding weight. The study showed that people who skipped breakfast or had a poor breakfast actually ended up eating more calories for the day.
Breakfast tends to be a meal where it is easy to eat healthy because of all the nutritious breakfast foods — whole grain cereals and bread, fruit, eggs, milk and yogurt. But because of the morning rush that is part of our fast-paced lifestyle, or in an effort to lose weight by reducing caloric intake by one meal, many people skip breakfast.
It is the worst thing to do. That's because calories eaten earlier in the day provide a higher satiety level than calories eaten later in the day. The University of Texas study found that when participants ate a healthy, reasonably-sized breakfast of about 400 to 500 calories, they consistently ate less throughout the rest of the day. When they ate no breakfast or one with just a couple of hundred calories, they tended to load up later. The bottom line: if you want to control your weight, eat a good breakfast.View Thread
A good laugh - like a good workout - produces an overall sense of well-being. It flexes the muscles of the chst and abdomen, including the diaphram, and causes deep breathing to take place. By exercising the shoulders, neck and face, laughter releases tension in the muscles. And humor itself can help create a different perspective on life and challenges.
We need to learn from children who on average laugh over 200 times a day. Adults by comparison laugh about 15 times a day. If we can up that number, we can manage the stress that underlies so many diseases and conditions.View Thread
It may make sense to steer clear of many fat-free baked goods, some of the real contributors to the American obesity epidemic. Sure, the manufacturers take out the fat, but they often add more sugar to compensate, and that jacks up the calories. Your fat-free muffin could be 450 calories!
In addition, studies show that when we eat fat-free baked goods, we routinely consume three to five times as much as we normally would. So, instead of eating two regular chocolate chip cookies (approximately 120 calories), we might gorge on 10 fat-free cookies (about 500 calories.) Caveat emptor!View Thread
Excessive salt in the diet has long been identified with an increase risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. But new research suggests that older adults who combine high salt consumption with low physical activity - watching TV or playing computer games - were at greater risk for cognitive decline. In other words, too much salt may be bad for your brain.
So, if you are planning to be a couch potato and watch every football bowl game, a good suggestion is to replace the salty snacks - chips and pretzels - with fruits and vegetables. And take a walk at halftime!View Thread
Unlike other citrus fruits, grapefruit contains substances that disable certain enzymes in your body, sometimes for hours. Without these enzymes, some statin drugs end up in the bloodstream at higher concentrations, which can put you at risk for serious muscle aches or weakness. Although an occasional small glass of grapefruit juice may be fine, experts recommend not drinking it at the same time you take the medication.View Thread