Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nutrients to Support a Healthy Heart

Since heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the U.S., those of us oriented toward prevention can adjust our lives to improve heart function.

While doing some nutritional research I came across an article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2001;37;1765-1774 titled "Chronic Heart Failure & Micronutrients"

Heart failure is usually preceded by any of the following:  coronary artery disease, heart attack, hypertension, cardiomyopathy ( a disorder of the heart muscle).  Other more obscure less recognized precedents are nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections, drug side effects, inflammatory disorders of the heart, heavy metal toxicity, abnormal heart rhythms, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, faulty heart valves, congenital heart disease, diabetes, severe anemia, emphysema, to name some but not all causes.

What we do know is that a specific deficiency of Selenium, Calcium or vitamin B1 can directly cause heart failure.

 The article about nutrients affecting Heart Failure also mentioned the importance of Vitamins C, E, B6, B12 & Folic Acid, Carnitine, Co-Enzyme Q10, and CreatineI will add that Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Resveratrol and vitamin D  are also relevant re keeping the heart healthy.
The article I have been citing concluded there was "sufficient evidence to support large-scale trials of dietary micronutrient supplementation in Heart Failure."

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Choose The Right Carbs

Carbohydrates are necessary for good health. They are, in fact, the body’s preferred energy source. They key lies in choosing the right carbohydrates. Not all carbs are created equal, after all. Whole grains, fruit and vegetables are clearly superior to candy and sweets, even if both do technically contain high amounts of carbs. It is, after all, about the whole package. First, a quick note: the phrase “whole grain” does actually refer to the grain itself in an unbroken and unprocessed state. Do not be mislead! Whole grain flour is not a whole grain, and while it’s a better choice for flour it is still inferior to the whole grain itself. Here are a few examples of good carbohydrate choices:
  • Mixed grain salads. You can add beans in for a little extra protein.
  • Oatmeal with seeds and dried fruit is a great way to start the day. Plus, oatmeal is a nerve tonic, which is great for calming jitters.
  • Combining fruit and yogurt in a smoothie brings together sweet carbs and healthy protein and calcium – perfect for a meal on the go.
  • Sweet potatoes have the carbohydrate power of other potatoes without the glycemic drawback. They are rich in potassium, beta carotene, B6 and Vitamin A.
  • Homemade whole-wheat flour muffins with wheat germ for immune boosting zinc and fresh berries for their antioxidant power.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Benefits to Improving Your Flexibility

Whether you’re naturally flexible or someone who really wishes they could still bend over and touch the floor with their legs straight, increasing your flexibility is beneficial to your health. Think you can be in truly great shape without flexibility training? Think again.

  • Improves your posture
  • Increases nutrient and blood flow to body tissues
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Decreases stress on your joints
  • Decreases the risk of injury during activity
  • Improves muscular coordination
  • Prevents and/or reduces back pain
  • Reduces sore muscles
  • Increases your enjoyment of physical activity
To increase your flexibility, start with simple steps.  When you wake up in the morning, do a few light stretches in bed before you get up.  Stretch your body lengthwise and to either side.  Roll your wrists and ankles through their full range of motion.  Do a few simple back stretches (yoga cat and cow postures are a great way to start your day).  Take stretch breaks at work to extend your legs and always warm up and cool down before exercising.  Without any extra flexibility training, you can be well on your way to a healthier, more flexible body.

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Friday, March 7, 2014


Feeling blue? Stressed? Have you been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, or at least feel like you would qualify for such a diagnosis? You are not alone. With the volume of grim news in the media lately, and the burgeoning stresses of our every day, impacted with the fear of our job security, there’s plenty of reason to feel overwhelmed, and thus anxious or depressed.

While medical treatment may seem unnecessary, it is important to start making some changes to improve your outlook on life. Would you be surprised to know that one of the easiest things you can do to combat emotional overload is to exercise? Growing research touts exercise as a beneficial way to boost your mood, with studies showing a dramatic decrease in depression and anxiety relapses in people who exercised for at least the recommended amount of time, 3-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes.

Don’t give up hope however, for even 10-15 minutes at a time can improve your exercise and start you on the road to mental recovery so that you feel more inspired to take on larger workout sessions. Still not convinced? Try something fun, and don’t see it as a workout. Take an interesting dance class, or a kickboxing class that makes you feel empowered again – all those kicks and punches are sure to rev up your energy and ditch your anxiety!

While science remains inconclusive as to the reasons behind the benefits of exercise on our mental health, there are a few logical reasons that are generally accepted. Exercise increases feel-good endorphins and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Not only that, but the movement helps us let go of excess muscle tension (common in depression and anxiety), and raises our core body temperature, which is suspected to help us relax.

Regular exercise also has emotional rewards, boosting confidence, distracting us from the often relentless chain of anxious worries that can keep us feeling low. In fact, the distraction alone can be hard to force ourselves into, but greatly rewarding. You may find yourself looking forward to your new distraction more than you expected, and you might discover it’s a more affordable and fun way to battle depression or anxiety.

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