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Heart Attack and Stroke – Why Does Artery Health Matter?

11While some progress in the battle against heart attack and stroke has been made in recent years the numbers are still quite sobering with statistics supplied by the American Heart Association stating that coronary heart disease alone currently accounts for 1 of every 6 deaths in the United States.

Additionally it is estimated that every 34 seconds, 1 American has a coronary event, and approximately every 1 minute, an American will die of one.

That means if it takes you 5 minutes to read this article there will have been 5 deaths and just slightly less than 10 coronary events, some of which will have occurred without warning.

Hopefully you are not one of them!

One could make the argument that part of the reason why the number of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary events has not declined more dramatically is a general misunderstanding of the cause, and how and why that cause occurs.

Additionally, the reliance of cholesterol lowering statin drugs to save the day could be another contributing factor as recent research tells us statin medications tend to only produce statistically significant results for individuals in certain high risk categories.

Getting Down To Basics

Statistical research compiled by the AHA tells us that 75 percent of all heart attacks and 87 percent of stokes are classified as Ischemic which means they are caused by arterial blood clots which block blood flow formed either at the site of the blockage (Cerebral thrombosis) or elsewhere (Cerebral embolism).

As you can see the potentially serious health event we refer to as a heart attack or stroke is really more of an artery issue that produces an outcome.

Artery Health and Why It Matters

Put simply healthy plaque free arteries translates into low risk for heart attack or stroke while poor artery health translates into high risk for heart attack or stroke.

The National Library of Medicine lists the primary contributing factors for poor artery health as family history, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure with the bottom line cause being plaque deposit formation triggered by inflammation.

In theory if we were to keep the inner lining of our arteries healthy and plaque free we should be able to almost completely eliminate the risk for heart attack and stroke.

The point I am trying to make here is that by thinking about the cause, and trying to prevent it, rather than the outcome (heart attack or stroke) we all will be taking a step in right direction on the road to broad based cardiovascular health and prevention.

So if you accept the science that deterioration in artery health greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke then the next thing we need to find out is what can be done to protect our arteries from current dangers and possible reverse existing damage.

Natural Herbs and Remedies May Help

From a natural health perspective there are a number of herbs that seem to be able to promote artery health with garlic and hawthorn considered by most to be two of the best.

*Garlic can prevent and treat plaque buildup in the arteries. Clinical trials seem to indicate that consuming fresh garlic or taking garlic supplements can lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots and destroy plaque according to information published by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

*Additionally, The University of Maryland Medical Center tells us that taking the herb hawthorn in a wide range of dosages (up to 1800 mg per day) can help prevent plaque formation in arteries, lower high cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. Hawthorn may help regulate the heartbeat and dilate blood vessels.

*There is some suggestion that omega 3 supplements such as fish oil and krill oil may help overall cardiovascular health while vitamin B12 may protect us from dangerous amino acids known as homocysteins.

If you are concerned about artery health and haven’t heard of homocysteins it might be and area of cardiovascular research worth learning more about.

Rob D. Hawkins is an enthusiastic researcher and consumer advocate for natural health and natural living with over 12 years experience in the field.

These Are Possibly The 10 Worst Foods For Heart Health

11When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, there are certain foods that, depending on your level of heart health and risk levels for heart disease, you should either avoid, or eat in extreme moderation. Artery-clogging foods can be some of the worst food culprits and can have adverse effects on your overall heart health.

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the Unites States alone. It includes a variety of conditions, including stroke, clogged arteries that may cause cardiac arrest or require bypass surgery, high cholesterol, heart attack, and premature death.

If the following ten foods are a part of your everyday diet, it could lead to some serious problems for your heart.

1.) Red Meat

Red meat is an animal protein that is high in saturated fat, and is not good for your heart when eaten in excess. It’s okay to have steak in moderation, but it should be something you treat yourself to a couple of times a week, and not a part of your daily meals.

Lean and/or extra-lean sirloins, round roasts and sirloin tips are some of your best once-in-a-while red meat choices for a healthier heart. It is also a good idea to trim the fat off your steak; this is the white marble portion of the steak or roast.

Broiling or cooking on an open flame are healthy cooking methods because they allow the fat to drip off the meat, as opposed to frying where the meat sits in its own fat in the pan.

2.) Processed Meat

Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and even deli meats are high in sodium, fat and may contain many preservatives. They often include added nitrates and nitrites, which have both been linked to causing certain heart problems. Processed meats also have more saturated fat and less protein than any self-prepared meats.

3.) Pizza

Doughy, cheese covered, pepperoni laced pizza pies contain about 2/3 of the maximum daily recommended saturated fat amount, and most pizza ingredients, especially take-out pizzas, are processed foods that are chock full of sodium.

It is much a healthier option to make your own pizza at home where you control the ingredients. Some options include, using, whole-wheat thin crust, fresh vegetables, lean chicken breast, fresh tomatoes or homemade tomato sauce and low-fat cheese.

These options greatly improve the health factor of pizza so you can still enjoy it without it threatening the health of your heart.

4.) Fettuccine Alfredo

Alfredo sauce itself is full of saturated fat and calories, since it is a combination of butter, heavy cream, and cheese, then there is the white pasta, and none of the ingredients provides any impressive nutrients.

Most people eat this dish at a restaurant, and here is what you get with Olive Garden’s Fettuccini Alfredo entrée, this is without chicken, which most people order:

1220 calories (675 from fat)

75 grams of total fat (115% daily value)

  • 47 of which grams are saturated fat (235% daily value)

1350 grams of sodium (56% daily value)

WOW! Look at those numbers! Can you never eat it again? No, of course, moderation is key, but if you love it, you can make a healthier version at home that you can enjoy more often.

Use whole grain pasta and make a homemade Alfredo sauce with either plain yogurt or low-fat milk and cheese, and add some fresh veggies to the mix for an added nutrition boost.

5.) Trans Fats

Trans fats are fatty acids that are created through the processes that make vegetable oils more solid (hydrogenated). They are cheap to create and they are often used in processed foods that are prepared and/or pre-packaged to have a longer shelf life. They can also be re-used for frying purposes.

Trans fats raise your bad LDL cholesterol levels and they lower your good HDL cholesterol levels. This is what puts your heart at risk. Read the labels and reduce trans fat intake, the American Heart Association recommends 1% or less of daily calorie intake from trans fats.

6.) Fried Foods

Many restaurants tend to reuse their frying oils many times over again, causing the fat to become more and more saturated. How you fry food makes a huge difference. Shortening is one of the worst, and a number of restaurants still fry with it.

Fried foods in general are never recommended for heart health; choose healthier cooking methods, like grilling with heart-healthy olive or canola oil.

7.) Soda

Heavy intake of refined sugar causes type 2 diabetes and obesity, both of which are huge risk factors for heart disease. Soda can spike your insulin levels by such a high amount that even if you drink only one can per a day, you can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack by up to 20%.

Choose green tea, ice tea, plain or flavored water or seltzer instead.

8.) Ramen Noodles

The cheap meal of ramen noodles has up to 1500 milligrams or more of sodium in each serving. What you save in dollars, you pay for in cholesterol levels and heart disease risks.

9.) Fast Foods

Many fast foods are full of trans fat; saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar, and the effects on your heart are almost immediate.

According to a 2012 study, after only one fast food meal, the dilation ability of your blood vessels drops by as much as 24%. A cheeseburger alone can have up to 1000 calories.

10.) Eggs Benedict

Eggs combined with the English muffin, butter and fat-filled Hollandaise sauce, not to mention the addition of Canadian bacon, delivers nearly 700 calories and about 35 grams of fat, not heart-healthy at all.

Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, a website devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. The site encompasses a wide variety of health and fitness activities including general health matters, pilates, yoga, CrossFit, treadmill training, running, kettlebell, swimming, baseball, camping, hunting, HIIT, triathlons, extreme sports, equestrian and more. Should this subject matter be of interest you can visit the HF & S Club home site where you’ll find over 1,300 quality posts with new posts being published daily. To quickly access those that are of interest you can select any of 20 Categories broken down by over 260 Sub-Categories for easy access. You can also visit visit any of the HF & S Club’s four Stores all of which feature 1,000s of sports and health products at the very best prices. Access this website by going to http://www.healthfitnessandsport.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J_Russell_Hart

Eating Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

1050_symptoms_emotional_mental_headWhen it comes to healthy blood pressure, it is just as important to eat the right food as it is to avoid the wrong ones. In order to lower your blood pressure (as most people who have a problem with blood pressure tend to have too high, not too low) you should eat a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy goods, as well as avoiding alcohol, caffeine, sugars, saturated fats and cholesterol. Doing so can lower your blood pressure by up to 14mm Hg.

OK, avoiding most of these is easy enough, and cholesterol is about increasing the good kind (HDLs) and getting less of the “bad” kind (LDLs) – though both kinds are necessary for proper nutrition. What about getting the right foods?

There are three key nutrients that help lower blood pressure; Folate, magnesium, and potassium.

When the potassium levels are low in your body, it begins to retain sodium, and this leads to higher blood pressure. There is no point in lowering salt intake if you do not also increase potassium intake. Numerous studies have been done on this, and the findings show that increased potassium levels lead to significant drops in both systolic and diastolic levels. Getting your potassium from food rather than a supplement is the recommended course of action.

Foods that are high in potassium include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beet greens, white beans, yoghurt, clams, prunes, carrots, molasses, tuna, halibut, soy beans, winter squash, bananas, milk, and oranges.

Combine the potassium with magnesium and Folate, and it will lead to even lower blood pressure, for they work together to give even better results. Magnesium seems to have a correlative connection with potassium. The lower the magnesium is, the lower the potassium levels. The inverse is not necessarily true, indicating that the magnesium acts in conjunction with the potassium.

Foods that are high in magnesium include spinach, swiss chard, squashes, mackerel, many types of beans, brown rice, avocadoes, yoghurt, bananas, figs, dark chocolate, pears, soy cheese, black-eyed peas, most nuts, Pollock and salmon.

Folate is essential for normal cellular metabolism. Without it the body has difficulty to metabolize homocysteine, which can cause damage to blood vessels. Folate also helps make the blood vessels more elastic, allowing them to dilate and contract as needed through nitric oxide. Studies indicate that if a person gets 400mg of Folate per day they will significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular deaths (by around 28 000 per year).

Folate can be found in most leafy greens, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, beets, potatoes, avocado, papaya, beans, lentils, peas, sunflower seeds, and the organs of meat.

In addition to this there are other nutrients that help.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that protects against the hardening of arteries, and is incorporated into the LDL cholesterol. This helps to prevent the damage done by free radicals, and it reduces peroxidation (the oxidative degradation of lipids, which causes cell damage), improves LDL breakdown, reduces the chances of excessive platelet aggregation (which causes clotting), increases the HDL levels, and it helps to breakdown fibrin, which is a clot-forming protein.

You can find vitamin E in chili powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, paprika, toasted almonds, almond butter, roasted sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, peanuts, peanut butter, wheat germ, sockeye salmon, tuna, tomatoes, oatmeal, broccoli, green olives, asparagus, spinach, swiss chard, kale, rice, mangoes, kiwi, dried apricots, butternut squash, red bell peppers, and avocados.

Vitamin D and Calcium
Low-fat milk provides both vitamins D and calcium, and together they help to reduce blood pressure, by as much as 15%.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, eggs, liver, orange juice (most is fortified with vitamin D), salmon, snapper, beef liver, pork, mackerel, trout, herring, tuna, halibut, and margarine. Calcium can be found in dairy products, of course, but also can be found in leafy greens, broccoli, edamame peas, bok choy, figs, oranges, sardines, salmon, okra, white beans, tofu, and almonds.

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Heart Health And Disease Statistics For Women

There is a common misconception that only men are susceptible to the risk of heart disease, but they are all sadly mistaken. In fact it is also the #1 cause of death in women. In fact, since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.

Women and Heart Disease Facts11

Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the biggest killer of women worldwide. Heart disease and stroke kills 8.6 million women each year, which is 1/3 of all deaths worldwide.

In the United States, the disease is the number 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease with a death approximately every one minute.

An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease and 90% of all women have at least one or more risk factors for developing it.

Even though there’s been an increase of awareness over the past 10 years or so, only 54% of women, that’s 1 in 5, actually realize that their #1 killer is disease of the heart.

For both white and African American women, it is the top cause of death in America, and for Hispanic women both cancer and heart disease cause nearly the same amount of deaths every year. For Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, or American Indian women in the U.S., disease of the heart is 2nd to cancer as the leading cause of death.

7.6% of black women, 5.8% of white women and 5.6% of Mexican American women currently suffer from coronary heart disease.

Nearly 64% of women who end up suddenly dying of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms at the time of their death. This proves that you can be at risk for heart disease even if you are not presently displaying any symptoms.

One of the contributing factors in the number of deaths is that the symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.

While there are some women who do not display any symptoms whatsoever, there are others who experience angina, which is a dull chest pain and/or discomfort that can be heavy to sharp in nature, pain in their upper back or abdomen or pain in their neck/throat/jaw. These pains can occur while you are resting, when you begin any physical activity or they can also be triggered due to mental stress.

Women in general are more likely to describe their chest pain as sharp and burning, and they are more frequently prone to pain in their jaw, neck, throat, back, or abdomen.

The disease symptoms can sometimes be completely silent and the disease is not diagnosed until a woman begins experiencing signs and/or symptoms of a heart conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, a heart arrhythmia or a stroke. Symptoms Women May Experience

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

Discomfort and/or pain in your chest

Pain in the upper back



Upper body discomfort


Extreme fatigue

Shortness of breath

Symptoms of an arrhythmia can include:

Fluttering feelings in your chest (heart palpitations)

Symptoms of heart failure can include:

Shortness of breath

Swelling of your ankles/feet/legs/abdomen


Symptoms of a stroke can include:

A sudden weakness, or paralysis (unable to move)

Numbness of the face/legs/arms especially on one particular side of your body


Trouble speaking and/or understanding speech

Difficulty seeing out of either one or both eyes

Shortness of breath

Loss of balance or coordination


Loss of consciousness

Sudden, and severe headache

Key Risk Factors For Women

These are all significant risk factors for heart disease in women. Nearly half of all Americans (about 49%) have at least one of the three key risk factors, and 90% of women have at least one risk factor.

High blood pressure


High levels of LDL cholesterol

A number of lifestyle choices and medical conditions can also increase the risk for disease of the heart in women, these include:


Excessive alcohol consumption

Physical inactivity

Poor diet

Overweight and/or obesity



Regular screenings, blood tests, and healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way to preventing heart disease and its repercussions. Many times women fail to take care of themselves until it’s almost too late. Take the time to take care of your health and ask your doctor about your heart health.

Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, a website devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. http://www.healthfitnessandsport.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J_Russell_Hart

Motivational Tips For Staying Healthy

Do you find yourself losing interest in staying healthy or in exercising? Maybe you were enthusiastic and dedicated. Then, you suddenly find your interest fading in doing exercises. Then, you go back to your old habits. What if instead of making huge changes to your life, you choose to make small changes? Simple changes to your life will help you stay healthy.Take-Care-of-Your-Body-Motivational-Quote

Rethink your role model

Barbie dolls may have been your role model as a child, but then they are six feet tall, have thin legs and a thin waist. Moreover, they have the extra inches up their chests and are too skinny to be role models as children grow up. In fact, you should rethink your role model because it will help you to accept yourself for who you are and make you motivated enough to go to the gym. Remember – it all begins in the mind.

Feel good about yourself

Be sure that the people around you want to make you feel good. It does not matter what your health condition or your size is. If you have friends, who encourage you to smoke, drink alcohol or skip the gym, then it is high time you find friends, who can help encourage you to cultivate some good habits. Do not be hung up on the number of pounds you weigh. Instead, eat healthy and exercise. That is more than enough to live a healthy life.

Know what makes you eat more

If you want to stay motivated, then you should consider knowing what your problem areas are and having a plan to deal with them. Do you use food to cope with depression, boredom, rejection or even personal success? Think of healthier ways to cope with your mood swings. Instead of eating food every time you feel something, In addition, try to avoid bingeing on foods whenever you feel disappointed, bored or even dejected. Fill your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables so that whenever you feel tempted to eat, you can simply chew on one of them.

Find a cheering section

Many people need a cheering section or someone who can help them muster their courage and determination. It does not matter who gives the support – your spouse, co-worker or your friend. Think of four to five people, who might be in your cheering section. Talk to these people and ask them how you can get help from them along with some motivation to visit your gym or to cultivate healthy food habits.

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How To Keep Active Mentally and Physically After Retirement

Keeping active daily and learning new things can make for a stimulating retirement with little boredom. If you didn’t lead an active life, now is a great time to start since nothing is in the way to hold you back.Exercise class

Hanging out with other seniors that are active will help you stay active, too. You may not keep at it unless you are motivated, and having friends join you in an activity helps you keep doing it. If you are starting a new activity, have a spouse or buddy join with you.

Doing aerobic exercise increases your endurance which increases your heart rate and breathing capacity. Some examples are:

  • brisk walking
  • swimming
  • dancing
  • biking

Strength exercise, which includes lifting free weights, increases muscle mass and strength. You can also accomplish this by using resistance bands. It is also good for maintaining your bone density which prevents any falls from doing a lot of damage. The weights don’t need to be too heavy to do the job, and you can fit in short series of repetitions throughout the day.

You really want to work on keeping your muscles working well. This will help you stay functional in all areas of your life. Plus you will be less likely to suffer a serious break if you fall. It will be easier to carry in your groceries and even lift up your new grandchild.

Stretching exercises keep you flexible. Yoga is a great exercise for seniors because it is low impact and the stretching is slow and gentle. There are also at home stretching workouts using a ballet barre. And doing balance exercises with it will increase your balance and help prevent falls. Being limber will help keep you active around the house which can make living on your own safer. If you don’t have a bar to hold onto you could use a stable chair, table edge or countertop.

As a senior, you have more time to spend on hobbies and other activities.

If a certain hobby has interested you throughout the years, during retirement you can take classes to immerse yourself and get to the next level or skill. You can even travel to distant cities to take courses for more intensive training, if you feel inclined to do so.

You can learn a skill you didn’t have had time for in the past. If learning the piano was always out of reach, it is something you can learn now and in less than a year you can play your favorite music easily.

Giving yourself challenges is important to keep you looking forward. Keeping active mentally and physically helps you maintain your memory and your muscle mass while doing the things you love. There really is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it. Make your retirement a time to bloom.

Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, a website devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. Should this subject matter be of interest you can visit the HF & S Club home site where you’ll find over 1,300 quality posts with new posts being published daily. To quickly access those that are of interest you can select any of 20 Categories broken down by over 260 Sub-Categories for easy access.

Access this website by going to http://www.healthfitnessandsport.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J_Russell_Hart

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