Keep a Healthy Heart

I love people and as dietician I want folks to know real love is not about sweet words, flowers and making whoopee. Real love is about making sure the loved ones in your life have healthy hearts and are living a lifestyle that will keep those hearts in good shape or help them become healthier.

Heart disease is America's number one killer of both men and women. Regardless of gender, what you eat can put you at risk for increased heart disease, which is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to heart attack which can occur when an artery becomes blocked. Blocked treaties prevent oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Heart disease is one of several cardiovascular diseases, which are diseases of the heart and blood vessel system. The other ones include stroke, high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and rheumatic heart disease. Rheumatic heart disease can occur after a person has rheumatic fever.

Healthy diets and lifestyles work together in keeping the heart healthy. Eating a healthy diet includes:

Diets should include:

Lean, skinless meats and poultry

Vegetables, and leafy greens

Foods high in soluble fiber: oatmeal, beans and peas, barley, and many fruits and vegetables (such as apples, oranges, and carrots)

Lowfat (1%) or fat free dairy products–

Avoid high fat and fried foods: also foods with added sugars

Avoid foods high in dietary cholesterol

Prepare foods without added salt, saturated fat, and trans fat

Limiting your alcohol intake

Women: 1 drink per day (maximum)

Men: 2 drinks per day (maximum)

Lifestyle

Exercise regularly

20-to-60 minutes per day, 3-to-5 times per week

Avoiding tobacco products and tobacco smoke

You should also chat with family members to learn about their health and medical history before there is a medical crisis.

Now a healthy diet and lifestyle does not mean you can not enjoy candy or sweets —– occasionally. These can be included in your diet in moderation, just do not go overboard. Dark or bittersweet chocolate will soothe that sweet tooth and also has health benefits. Dark chocolate has benefits because it is high in antioxidants which are good for you. Further research has shown that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, aid arteries in relaxing and being flexible for healthy blood flow, as well as satisficing your desire for a sweet treat.

It is also important to know the signs or symptoms that your heart may not be healthy. A heart attack of course is a red flag, but there may also be signals from your body that should be discussed with a doctor. Some of the indicators include:

Chest pain (angina)

• Shortness of breath

• Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms, if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed.

• Lightheadedness

• Dizziness

• Swelling in the ankles, hands or feet

• Fainting or near fainting

You often see the “heart” symbol, just remember to show your love to friends and family by sharing with them what it takes to develop and keep a healthy heart. You know with love, you have to work at it every day.

Take Away: It only takes a few minutes to share with loved ones tips to help them adopt a healthy life lifestyle. A tip a day can help keep the doctor away.

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Five Numbers for a Healthy Heart

February is a busy month for hearts. In addition to celebrating Valentine's Day, February is American Heart Month. This Valentine's Day, the best valentine you can give yourself is learning how to keep your heart healthy. According to the CDC, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that's 1 in every 4 deaths. The good news is that heart disease is preventable and controllable. Take control of your heart health by learning these 5 important numbers to prevent heart disease. Knowing these numbers can literally save your life.

Waist Size

If you have too much fat – especially if a lot of it is around your waist – you're at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Why is fat around the stomach so bad? It tends to be a sign of visceral fat, or fat that gathers around the organs in the abdomen. This fat tend to promote insulin resistance and unhealthy cholesterol numbers, and may also boost inflammation. For women, health risk begins to rise when your waist is more than 35 inches. For men, risk increases when your waist is over 40 inches.

Your LDLs and HDLs

It's important to know not just your total cholesterol reading, but also your levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and HDL “good” cholesterol. LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. When too much of it circulates in the blood, it can clog treaties, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the ideal LDL number is less than 100 mg / dL.

HDL (High-density lipoprotein) or the “good” cholesterol helps keep the LDL (bad) cholesterol from attaching to the arterial walls. Medical experts believe that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Because hdl is protective, higher levels are desirable. Therefore, a level greater than 40 mg / dL is the ideal HDL range for men, while greater than 50 mg / dL is the ideal range for women.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic (the top number) measures the pressure in the treaties when the heart beats. Diastolic (the bottom number) measures the pressure in the arms between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood). The AHA recommendation for healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or less. Typically more attention is given to the systolic blood pressure number as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease especially for people over 50 years old.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood which your body uses for energy. Triglycerides are made from the fats and carbohydrates you eat. You need some triglycerides for good health, but high triglycerides are linked to coronary heart disease. Excess triglyceride in plasma is called hypertriglyceridemia. The National Cholesterol Education Program's guidelines for triglycerides are: Normal: Less than 150 mg / dL. Changes in lifestyle habits are the main therapy for hypertriglyceridemia.

Resting Heart Rate

Your pulse is the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Regular monitoring of your resting pulse will help determine your level of fitness and the health of your heart. A normal resting pulse rate is 60 to 90 beats per minute. Athletes typically have lower heart rates, sometimes even as low as 40 beats per minute because of their better heart fitness. However, pulse rate varies from person to person. In addition, there are certain medical conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia which may alter the normal pulse rate of an individual. Other influencing factors include age, gender and fitness level.

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Taking a Statin for High Cholesterol? Beware of Nutrient Depletion

If you and your doctor have determined that you are someone who will benefit from being on a statin drug, you should be prepared to do everything you can to minimize the many negative side effects statin drugs can cause.

Most of the negative side effects caused by statins are due to the way these drugs deplete the body of the potent antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

You see, statins work in the liver by blocking an enzyme pathway that leads to the creation of cholesterol. Unfortunately, that same enzyme pathway is the one your body uses to create CoQ10. So statin takers need to be especially aware of the fact that they're not producing CoQ10 at the levels they would be if they were taking no medication. When your body lacks CoQ10, energy production will lag and cell function will suffer.

Here's a list of nutrients I recommend to all statin users. Because of the CoQ10 connection, it's at the top of the list. But because CoQ10 is so intimately involved in cellular energy production, I also recommend including complementary nutrients in your daily regimen. You'll find many of these nutrients in a quality multivitamin and mineral formula. Others, like CoQ10, ribose, and broad spectrum carnitine, must be purchased separately and can be found in health food stores and most grocery stores.

• CoQ10, 100-200 mg (hydrosoluble softgel) daily. CoQ10 serves as a raw material for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary source of cellular energy. Also a potent antioxidant, CoQ10 helps to neutralize the free radicals generated during the ATP production cycle.

• Broad spectrum carnitine, 1-2 g daily. This nutrient shuttles the fatty acids necessary for ATP production into the cells and transports waste material out.

• Ribose, 5 g twice a day. Ribose allows used ATP molecules to be recycled more quickly. A simple sugar made in every cell, ribose is depleted by heart disease. When taken as a supplement, it quickly re-energizes heart patients.

• Magnesium, 400-800 mg daily. In the body, magnesium helps activate and regulate more than 350 enzymatic reactions. It is also required to stabilize and store ATP.

• Vitamin E (100-200 IU of mixed tocopherols daily), vitamin C (200 mg daily), and alpha lipoic acid (50-100 mg daily). These three major antioxidants protect your cells from free-radical damage and are able to penetrate the inner mitochondrial membrane.

• Copper (500 mcg to 1 mg daily), Zinc (15-30 mg daily), Molybdenum (75-150 mcg daily), and Manganese (2-4 mg daily). All four are vital minerals for ATP production and cellular health and repair.

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My Hurting Heart: 5 Common Heart Disorders

Valentine's day can bring out a surge of conflicting emotions in a person. You can either be head-over-heels in love with your special someone or six-feet-below-the-ground depressed because you're single. If you feel your heart literally hurting however, that's a different thing.

Pain in the cardiac or chest area may be indications of serious cardiovascular conditions. With the American Heart month now here, it's time to be informed of the common cardiac disorders. Here's a closer look at five of them:

Coronary Artery Disease

Simply called heart disease, this condition is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women, CDC reports. This condition is a result of plaque accumulation in the treaties, leading to narrowing of the blood passes. When not raised, plaque can block blood flow, giving less oxygen to the cardiac region, and increases the risk for stroke and heart attack.

Heart Attack

Also called myocardial infarction, this condition occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked by a blood clot. If the clot blocks the flow completely, the cardiac muscle does not get the oxygen it needs and ever dies. Typical symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, chest pain, substantial sweating, vomiting or false. If not treated immediately, this attack can cause permanent damage to the heart.

Arrhythmia

This means having a problem with the rhythm of your heart. You can either have tachycardia (heartbeats are too fast), bradycardia (heartbeats are too slow), fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), or premature contraction (heartbeats are too early). Everyone may experience irregular heartbeats, but if they are too far from normal, they should be taken seriously as they can become fatal.

Congenital Heart Disease

This condition is a type of defect in the heart structure that occurs before birth. In most cases, it arises during fetal development, when the pregnant mother is exposed to certain viral infections, alcohol or drugs. The result is an altered shape and function of the cardiac muscle. Examples include septal defects, cyanotic heart disease and obstruction defects.

Heart Failure

This a major health problem has affected millions of Americans. Though its name sounds screaming at first, heart failure does not really mean that your heart stopped working. It means that the heart does not pump blood to the body as efficiently as it should. This is sometimes the result of CAD or hypertension – the heart becomes too weak to pump properly.

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Key Heart Healthy Foods in The Mediterranean Diet

What is the Mediterranean Diet and is it worthwhile?

Want a diet that protects against heart disease, some types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and a few other serious illnesses? These claims have been made about the Mediterranean diet. It's one of the best diets you can follow. Some people say it's more of a lifestyle than a specifically defined diet plan.

According to Wikipedia, the Mediterranean Diet is inspired by traditional dietary patterns of Portugal, Spain, southern Italy, southern France, and Greece. The diet consist of plant foods, fruit, olive oil, dairy products, fish and poultry, and moderate amounts of wine. 25% to 35% of calories can be in the form of fat. Saturated fat is 8% of calories or less.

The Mediterranean diet includes the following …

– Very low consumption of red meat

– Olive oil is used when cooking instead of butter

– Legumes including soy, beans, peas are common

– Fish is eaten often

– Fruits and vegetables are ateen often

– Very low consumption of refined sugars and sweets

– Moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt)

– Alcohol in moderation (1 to 2 drinks per day, preferably red wine)

The Mediterranean Diet was first publicized in 1945 but became popular in the 1990's. It has been the subject of many studies including the Seven Countries Study which has continued for more than 50 years. This study revealed a much higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in the United States and Northern Europe than in the Mediterranean region in Southern Europe. The common diet in that region was the Mediterranean diet.

The Lyon Diet Heart Study, conducted in the 1990's, reported dramatic results for the group of participants following a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet. Mortality was reduced by 70% according to their findings. Interestingly, the study reports no change in the cholesterol levels of either the control group or the group following the Mediterranean diet. This diet is often cited by those who believe that cholesterol does not cause heart disease.

Why is the Mediterranean diet helpful in preventing heart disease?

One answer may be that these foods contain higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and lower amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids. The recommended ratio of our consumption of Omega 6's to Omega 3's is about 4 to 1. Or even closer to 1 to 1 if you can do it. It is estimated that the American diet has an average ratio of about 15 to 1 or more. The typical Mediterranean diet ratio is about 4 to 1 (omega 6 to omega 3 ratio).

Omega 3's and omega 6's need to be consumed in our diet because our bodies do not produce it on their own. Most of us already consume too much Omega 6. Because we already get so much of it, we should try to minimize the foods with Omega 6 which include include Grapeseed Oil, Corn Oil, Walnuts and Walnut Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Soybean Oil, Vegetable Oil , Sunflower Oil. You may be thinking that you do not consume any of those oils. Actually you do in the form of processed food and fast food.

Reducing the consumption of fast food and processed food will help lower your intake of Omega 6. Using olive oil instead of vegetable oils like corn oil helps too. Eat more fish or take supplements to increase your consumption of omega 3. Other sources of Omega 3 include flaxseed, walnuts, green leafy vegetables and soybeans.

A simple plan to use Mediterranean diet to lower the risk of heart disease

Eat more fish, fruits and vegetables. That's pretty simple. Easier said than done I know. Eat less processed food. Whole grain rather than white bread. Red wine is OK, up to a glass or two a day. Eggs and even some red meat is OK sometimes but not too often.

I think that much of what makes the Mediterranean diet healthy is consistent with most of the common advice about heart health. Eat more natural whole foods and stay away from processed food and fast food. I hope this short article gives you a better idea of ​​what this diet is about and how it can help you.

Want to lower your cholesterol? Read about these top 10 foods to lower cholesterol .

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Knowing The Facts About High Blood Pressure

Have you ever wondered what happens on every beat of our heart. With each beat, our heart pumps blood, which carries oxygen and other nutrients to different parts of the body. The pumping of the heart creates pressure waves which help in pushing blood through the arteries. Arteries are those blood vessels which carry blood away from your heart. The blood pressure is this force of pressure waves in the treaties. The pressure in the treaties depends upon the amount of blood flow ie the speed and strength of the blood flow and the resistance of this blood through the treaties.

The top point of this pressure wave is known as systolic blood pressure while the bottom point is termed as diastolic pressure. Typically, there are some normal changes in the blood pressure throughout the day due to our physical and emotional activities. The lowest is when we are resting. These small changes in a day are completely normal, however, when these changes become quite high and persistent then the person becomes a victim of hypertension. When this blood flow and the resistance becomes high, it leads to high blood pressure.

Hypertension is a quite common problem these days which can occur to an individual of any age. The probability of the disease increases as we get older or when our parents also suffer from high BP. Controlling high blood pressure is very essential as consistently elevated pressure of blood can lead to the damage of blood vessels and other vital organs. With this damage, a person can suffer from stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, dementia, erectile dysfunction, etc. If one identifies the high blood pressure before any major damage, the risk of developing above lethal problems can be mitigated.

Some tips for controlling high blood pressure:

Eating a better diet is the key- this may include increasing fruits and vegetable consumption, reducing salt intake, taking some vital supplements for high BP.

Enjoy regular regular physical activity- although the fast and busy life does not allow you to be involved in regular physical exercise. However, to be healthy, you need to develop this habit. A 30 minute exercise is highly advisable for a BP patient.

Maintain a healthy weight: those who do not have BP can develop high probability if their basal metabolic rate does not lie within normal levels. So, if you are feeling that you are crossing your limits, beware of it and start working on your extra fats from today only.

Manage stress: stress leads to a variety of health problems and hypertension is one of them. A healthy and happy lifestyle with cool mind will keep your heart healthy.

Checking your smoking and alcohol intake: these two bad habits cause negative impact on your health, so, try to curve them as much as possible.

Last but not the least, being informed is very essential. Studies revealed that about 20% of people are unaware of this health problem and its side effects. In addition to this, the absence of any symptoms further make it a silent killer. Therefore, go for regular heart check up and take prescriptions regularly.

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Coronary Heart Disorder (CHD): A Grave Concern

Every year, around 1 million citizens in the United States complain of heart disorder. More than 400,000 of these heart failures are lethal. More than half of those expiration take place inside one hour of the concentration of syndromes and before the patient receives any kind of medical cares.

Auspiciously, anyone can take preventive measures to safeguard their heart and their life or that of an another person. The solution is to look for medicative attention at the earliest.

A Coronary heart disorder (CHD) is an alarming predicament, and no individual ever desire to think about it, let alone experience it. But, if one knows the symptoms of a heart failure and what measures to take, he / she can save a life may be his / her own.

Now what are the symptoms of a cardiac arrest? Multifarious persons believe a cardiac arrest is impromptu and severe, quiet similar to a “celluloid” card arrest, where an individual grabs his or her bosom and collapses.

But the real fact is that majority of the cardiac arrests ordinarily graduated, as a lenient affliction or discomfiture. If one experiences such a syndrome, one may not be certain what's at fault. His / her agony may be fleeting. Even the most experienced ones who have had experienced a cardiac arrest may not identity their syndromes, because the recent failure can have utterly separate indications.

Umpteen individuals relinquish life due to the financial constraint of not affording a pacemaker. At the same time cardiac sufferers in the United States claim they would be ready to bequeath their after after expiration to person in exigency.

In the recent edition of one of the leading magazines of New York, Cardiovascular Center specialists at the Michigan State University analyze the legitimacy and mechanisms of acquisitive pacemakers, once they are detached for funeral or incineration, for emasculation and reiterates all over the world.

Inconsequential altruistic attempts have shown reiterating pacemakers is free from harm and efficacious with limited danger of contamination and those who are using the recycled pacemakers are reported to have the same kind of living duration and comfort as those who receive fresh ones, scribbler say.

It's a modernistic way for remedying cardiovascular disorder which remains the principal reason of death across the globe.

To rectify the irregular heartbeat a pacemaker is instilled into the patient's body. An irregular heartbeat can be originated by cardiac arrests, inductive disorders or debilitated age and lead to black out and exhaustion.

Some alien makers have abridged the expenditure of pacemakers to no more than eight hundred dollars, a fare that still keep it beyond the reach of the average workers in the under-developed countries.

Under-developed countries due to their financial crunch and limitations can ill afford the modern amenities a technologies available that has eliminated the fatalities caused by heart failures in developed countries, while debilitated style of living, as well as contagious diseases, attribute to alarming proportion of heart disorders globally.

In the current decennium, developed countries have been experienced a dip in fatalities from heart failures and cerebrovascular accidents, but those in the impoverished part of the world remain to confront an endemic of cardiovascular disorder.

Detachment of pacemakers before funeral and incineration are severely restored to the makers and in lieu are stocked at burial homes with no seeming utilization. In a survey conducted by Michigan funeral authorities near about 90 percent said they were deliberating to provide equipment to non-profit organizations if provided the contingency.

Therefore, it is evident that heart disorder / failure is a lethal event to tackle with, more so for under-developed poor nations who are ill equipped to overcome the challenges posed by this epidemic of cardiac disorder.

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A Centuries Old Secret For Eating Heart Healthy Food

There is a lost and almost forgotten discipline that seems to hold the secret heart healthy food eating. Many professional health coaches call it the key to a healthy heart diet and life. This ancient technique requires the use of an old but successful approach that Daniel, an OT prophet used. (Daniel 1: 8) The life of Daniel found among the pages of the Scriptures that bear his name can teach us a lot about an almost forgotten discipline that offers so much to all who learn it. It unfolds many applications that can help us lay a good foundation for this New Year and future years in the critical areas of our lives.

This simple, yetound approach shows that a healthy attitude goes a long way towards achieving success in every area of ​​life. The question “should I eat that?” Egypt “should I do that?” are based a broad question that leaves significant room for error. However, the narrows questions like “do I eat that? Or do I do that?”, Puts the temptation face to face with the intention. It is easier to resist temptation if you have thought through your convictions before the temptation arises. You see “do I” confronts a conviction where as “should I” allows for too many conditions and becomes a preference. Daniel's [positive attitude] shown by his determination to move forward and not backward into a pity party over his encounter with the twins of injustice and misfortune. I know that the biblical text does not say that he moaned and groaned about his difficult circumstances, but it also does not record that Daniel or his three best friends wrote a psalm lamenting or a journal chronicling regrets and complaints.

Rehearsing the story over and over in your mind will only fan the sparks of discontent. These sparks will start the rapid burning fires of grumbling, complaining, and regretting that your life affect the lives of others. Too often these localized fires join forces and grow. If not extinguished immediately they can escalate to a raging inferno. A positive healthy attitude is an easy way to prevent one of these fires. A healthy attitude requires an attitude of gratitude for moment and beyond. It is not of what should have been, could have been, or what might have been if. Although you can not change the reality of the past or the now (it is what it is), you do have the freedom to choose how you will react or respond to the circumstance.

Choosing the best heart healthy food for you is easier when you apply this centuries old discipline. If you want to put this benefit to work, begin now and establish your foods you eat convictions / principles that are absolutely non- negotiable. Write them, read them, recite them, review them, and then you'll realize them. You now have in your hand on this centuries old secret.Go forth and eat well and live well.

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Lower Your Cholesterol With Oatmeal

Did you know that eating oatmeal can lower your cholesterol? It's always nice when you can get benefit from eating more of something. Rather than having to give up something.

Oatmeal is like a miracle drug. One and a half cups of oatmeal gives you about 6 grams of soluble fiber. Just add some fruit like a banana and you'll be consuming about 10 grams of soluble fiber.

Increasing the amount of soluble fiber by 5 to 10 grams per day should help you lower your cholesterol. No matter how much you currently consume. It is recommended that you get 25 to 50 grams of dietary fiber per day. 5 to 10 grams should be soluble fiber. Most people consume much less than 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day.

The increase of about 10 grams of soluble fiber per day is what you're shooting for.

If you do not want to eat a bowl of oatmeal every day or if you simply do not like it, there are many things you can add oatmeal to, so that you can still benefit from it. You can use oatmeal in cookies, deserts, and many other things. Do an internet search and you'll find hundreds of great healthy desert oatmeal recipes.

Why Does Oatmeal Lower Cholesterol

Oatmeal contains a reliably high amount of beta-glucan, a soluble form of fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower the bad kind of cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. You need to eat 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day to have an effect on cholesterol. It has been reported that an increase of this amount can lower LDL cholesterol by about 5 percent. To lower cholesterol even more you can try adding 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber per day.

Oatmeal Alternatives

If you just can not get yourself to consume oatmeal in one form or another, here's a few other foods that are rich in soluble fiber.

– Lentils

– Apples

– Oranges

– Pears

– Strawberries

– Nuts

– Flaxseed

– Beans

– Blueberries

– Cucumbers

– Carrots

Types of Oatmeal

Yes there are different types of oatmeal. All of them have the same original material which is oats of course. It's the way that they are processed and prepared that variies.

The healthiest is Steel Cut Oats. These are more expensive and harder to find. They are oats that are chopped into small pieces. They are chewier, which some people prefer. Steel Cut Oats have the lowest glycemic index of all the types.

Old fashioned oats are probably the most common. They are oats that are rolled into flattened pieces. They are a little quicker to cook than Steel Cut Oats.

Quick cooking oats are almost the same as old fashioned oats but they are pressed into thinner pieces to make cooking faster.

Instant oatmeal is not as healthy as the other types. In fact, some instant oatmeal contains added sugars and salt which can make them unhealthy. They're convenient but simply not as good for you as the other types.

If you're serious about lowering your cholesterol, try adding steel cut or old fashioned oats to your daily diet. It's one great tasting idea that can make a difference!

For more ideas on foods that lower your cholesterol read this article about the best and worst foods for heart health .

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Are Vitamin Supplements Necessary?

So you feel pretty good about having taken vitamins for years. Think about how healthy you are because of all those vitamin pills you swallowed. But wait. You hear a news report that says vitamin pills are a waste of money. Or someone says that most people already get enough vitamins in their diet. Worse yet, taking too much of certain kinds of vitamins might harm you!

The jury is still out on this. It's complicated. And to confuse us more, many reports and studies are either done improperly or intentally manipulated to show desired results. Supplements are a huge business. Manufacturers and distributors take in billions of dollars a year.

What we want is the best advice. If we need them, what dietary supplements do we really need? And which ones work?

Do we need dietary supplements?
Looking deeper into this we find the most common answers somewhere in the middle. There are those who spout out quick answers like “You do not need vitamin pills, you get enough vitamins from food”. Or “Vitamins are a waste of money”. All of those fast answers are meaningless to me. I want to see some research to back up those answers. I never hear someone say “you do not need vitamin pills because according to a study done in … and continue to cite specifics about the study”.

You'll often hear medical doctors say that you do not need vitamin supplements. My own doctor recommends vitamin supplements however. He says we probably do not get everything we need from our diet. This seems to be a reasonable recommendation.

So here are some specifics for you. I've done some research myself. And I've found some sources that I think are somewhat dependable.

From the Mayo Clinic. Written by the Mayo Clinic Staff.
I'm not sure exactly who the Mayo Clinic Staff is, but here it is …
The article points out that supplements are not intended as a replacement for food. Rather they are intended, as the name directly describes, as a supplement. Something to be added to your existing diet. Foods are complex and they offer other benefits along the vitamins or whatever other supplements you are taking. They do not recommend supplements to healthy people under 50. They do recommend supplements or food with iron and folic acid for pregnant women. They recommend vitamin B12 in the form of supplements or food to adults over 50 years of age. They suggest supplements for people who do not eat well, are vegetarian, have a medical condition that affects absorption of nutrients, or have had surgery that interferes with nutrient absorption. They do not recommend mega doses of supplements.

From the National Institute of Health
This is a long technical article. The main conclusion of this article is that most of us do not need multivitamin and mineral supplements. And that they are not beneficial in decreasing the risk of chronic diseases such as ischemic heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Healthy individuals do not need supplements they say.

From WebMD – Do Older Adults Need Vitamins, Supplements?
This article says that about half of older adults take vitamins and other supplements. But most of those can improve their diet instead to get what they need. Some research suggests that older people may need more vitamins B6, B12, and Folate. The article also suggests that vitamin D is sometimes needed as a supplement for older adults. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says older adults should pay special attention to their intake of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, potassium, and fiber.

Supplements for a Healthy Heart. Do Supplements Really Help Your Heart?
This is an article by a dietitian. It discusses many of the common supplements that people use for heart health including baby aspirin, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, fish oil supplements, Coenzyme Q-10, Niacin, Green Tea Extract, Plant Sterols and Stanols, Red Yeast Rice, and a few more. She is not strongly recommending any of these as supplements but seems to also be suggesting that many of them have been shown to be beneficial. Some good information but not strong recommendations in this article.

And of course there are thousands more articles and studies on supplements. A lot of conflicting information and recommendations which leave us uncertain of what's best.

Should I take vitamin supplements?
I'm sure that some of what's in my vitamin pills do no good. But there just might be some benefit. Maybe my diet lacks some of the vitamins I get in the pills I take. So I'll keep taking a multivitamin pill every day. But I better make sure they are good quality, otherwise it's a total waste of money.

Should I take vitamins and other supplements to prevent heart disease?

I've read studies and recommendations that go both ways. However, some studies such as the Lyon Diet Heart Study and the Seven Countries Study show that there are foods, or things in food, that seem to lower heart disease risk. Lifestyle and exercise are part of the whole picture as well. The Mediterranean diet became popular as a result of the Seven Countries Study. Elements of the Mediterranean diet are still commonly recommended in the prevention of heart disease. I think most would agree that you can make a difference by eating right and adding supplements to make it easier to get what's needed. My answer to this question is yes. Yes I should take vitamin supplements.

Dietary supplements often recommended for Heart Health

– Fish Oil Supplements with DHA and EPA

– Vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, B9, B12

– Make sure your vitamin E is not dl-alpha-tocopherol-acetate. Use high-gamma vitamin E instead.

– Selenium

Enzyme CoQ-10

How to know if vitamin pills are good quality

Vitamin pills in liquid or tablet form tend to lose their potency and are difficult for your body to absorb. Capsule form is the best way to preserve the minerals and receive maximum absorption. Avoid synthetic vitamins. Use natural forms instead.

Dietary supplements and Vitamins. Brands that work.

If you take supplements that do not work because they are poor quality, that's obviously a waste of money. I've found a website that claims to have tested many brands. They have rated them all and list them on their website. The brand of multivitamin I have been taking, Centrum, is very popular and advertised a lot on TV. But it's rating is not all that great. The website also has a price comparison section. The website is called the Multivitaminguide. Just do an internet search and you'll find it.

What's your next step?

If you're interested in taking supplements and want to make sure you do it right, then check some of the resources mentioned above. If you want to read more about preventing heart disease there's more on my website . And of course there are thousands of articles and studies available on the Internet.

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Best And Worst Foods For Heart Health

There's very little argument about certain foods being good for a healthy heart. Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are good for you. However, some of the foods that are good and bad may surprise you.

I've been able to improve my diet by knowing and understanding the nutritional value of most of the common foods. Some of the foods I'm eating more often include oatmeal, blueberries, fruits, and nuts. I also eat dark chocolate much more often than before. Dark chocolate is my version of candy. It's also good for heart health as it contains antioxidants and has been known to lower blood pressure. The good news is that many of the best foods also taste great, are easy to find, and are economic to purchase!

Foods to avoid include candy, soda pop, white bread, processed meats and most processed foods. Skip deserts if you can.

It's easier to know the types of food that are good and bad rather than trying to memorize individual items. Here are some general rules you can follow to help you with this.

  • Buy less processed foods. The more processed the food the worse it is. Raw fruits and vegetables are great and totally unprocessed.
  • Buy more of the foods around the outside walls of the grocery stores and less from the inside isles. The inside isles contain mostly boxed and processed foods.
  • Replace white bread with 100% whole wheat bread.
  • Avoid trans fat which is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  • Avoid junk food and fast food.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Searching the internet will provide you with many lists of the best and worst foods for heart health. For most foods there's not much disagreement about what's good and bad.

Some of the popular foods known to be heart healthy include salmon, sardines, avocado, blueberries, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, spinach, brown rice, flax seed, dark chocolate, and green tea.

Unhealthy foods, especially for heart health, include soda pop, french fries, potato chips, hot dogs, fast food, processed food, and anything with trans fat. Trans fat is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

It's not always easy to eat healthy food. Fast food is the most convenient food available. These days when everyone is in a hurry it's often the only choice. Grocery stores give you the options that restaurants do not. If you can find a grocery store deli instead of a fast food restaurant you'll have great choices for heart healthy food.

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Vitamin Supplements That Work

Are your vitamin supplements doing any good? Are you wasting your money?

You might think vitamin supplements are a bit off topic what talking about heart health. But really they're not. Various vitamins have been studied in terms of their importance to heart health. Vitamin B6 has been associated with a reduction of heart attacks in women. Vitamin C has been known to help lower blood pressure. Vitamin D and vitamin E have also been mentioned when discussing heart health.

How to know which and how much vitamin supplements to take

We have the government's RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). And we have other recommendations by various experts. Some of the government's RDA numbers are considered inaccurate by some experts. Most experts recommend that you should try get as much of your vitamin and mineral nutrients from food. And many recommend adding supplements to fill in the gaps where you may not get enough of these nutrients from food.

I've always thought it makes sense to take vitamin supplements in case I do not get what I need from the food I eat. As I continue to learn more about what our food contains, I'm increasingly convinced that we need supplements. I'm also more concerned, and confused, about the quality of supplements. More on that below.

Here's a short list of supplements that I have seen recommended. Especially for heart health.

– Multivitamin

– Vitamin D (2000IU or more, up to 8000IU)

– Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements (1 to 3 grams of DHA and EPA)

– Vitamin C and vitamin E supplements if the multivitamin is short on these

How to know which brand of vitamin supplements to buy

If you are taking supplements that do not work, you're just spending your time and money. So you want to get this right.

Think about it. If you take the same supplements for many years only to find out they did not contain any nutrients, or your system could not absorb those nutrients, it's a waste of time and money. And you've also lost health benefits that you might have otherwise achieved with better supplements or food!

You need to know which supplements work. And which ones do not. Finding the answer is not easy.

When searching for reviews of supplements you'll find websites that claim to have reviewed them. They provide their results with a chart that ranks the best through the worst. Sometimes, looking closer, you'll also find that these websites are selling supplements too. And of course what they are selling is usually recommended. Reviews are only part of the picture. Studies involving actual documented cases are very difficult to do. There are so many variables involved.

Consumer Labs offers reports of top rated brands here: http://www.consumerlab.com/news/Supplement-Users-Survey/2_1_2012/

These reports appear to be based on ratings by consumers. Not scientific study. Some of the information is given on this webpage but the full report is available for purchase. Consumer Labs has other studies that may be helpful too. They charge a fee for much of their information.

Vitamin supplements and quality control

The USP (United States Pharmacopeia) is a non profit organization that sets standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. You will see their label (USP) on some bottles of supplements that they have tested. Their stamp means they have tested the product and approved it according to their testing. It means the product has met their standards. However, it does not mean the product is what you need. As an example, I have a bottle of vitamin E pills that contains the USP stamp. But, the vitamin E in the bottle is the synthetic type. This is stated as the main ingredient on the bottle label. The synthetic type (di-alpha tocopheryl acetate) is not recommended by nutrition experts. So I have a bottle of vitamin E with the USP stamp of approval on it. A bottle of vitamin E that I will be throwing in the garbage!

Grades of Supplements

There are 2 categories of supplements often discussed. Food grade, which meets standards set for human consumption. And pharmaceutical grade, which meets pharmaceutical standards. According to Wiktionary, pharmaceutical grade is “A standard of purity suitable for use as a medicine.” Almost all supplements are not labeled with either of these 2 grades. Some say the pharmaceutical grade claim used by some supplement sellers is simply a marketing ploy. Others say it's an important consideration.

Multivitamin Brands

I'm currently taking Silver +50 Centrum multivitamin supplements. I've seen Centrum rated well on many websites. However, according to one article Centrum is rated very low in a book by Lyle MacWilliam called the “Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements”. It's a book that came out at the request of Canadian Parliament to provide the public with information in order to make good decisions when it came to supplements. The article is here: http://ahealthieryou4life.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-vitamins-what-is-your-supplement.html . The article also lists some of the top ranking multivitamin supplements as follows …

1. Usana Health Sciences (96.1 in the 3rd edition)

2. Creating Wellness Alliance (not included in the 3rd edition)

3. Douglas Laboratories (75.1 in the 3rd edition)

4. TrueStar Health (not included in the 3rd edition)

Recommendations

I had hoped to come up with some good recommendations about supplements and brands. Through the process of researching this article I've discovered there are more questions than answers. I'm more suspicious of the supplements being sold. I'm not convinced that spending more provides better quality. Claims of “pharmaceutical grade” and “USP” labels do not convince me that a product is beneficial.

I think the only good recommendation I can give is to try get more important nutrients from the food you eat. That's one way to be sure you're getting quality nutrients. More specifically unprocessed foods, like fruits and vegetables. You do not need to be concerned about pharmaceutical grade or nutrient labels when you buy blueberries and apples!

Vitamin Supplements that work

As for nutritional supplements, I still believe in them. But I'll keep it simple. No mega doses with dozens of pills a day. A multivitamin and some fish oil supplements will do. As my search for the best supplements continues I'll report my findings on my website. If you are wondering if vitamin supplements are necessary I've written more about that here: Are vitamin supplements necessary ?

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Need Help Lowering Cholesterol? Eat Avocado

I do not know about you, but in the past I was not all that familiar with avocados. They come from trees that are native to central Mexico. I never paid that much attention to them. My wife has used them from time to time for various meals in the kitchen.

Last night my wife was reading from a website article on the health diaries website. She was reading about the health benefits of avocados. Here's an amazing discovery that was mentioned in the article: Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol. That's a compound that's been shown to lower cholesterol levels.

In one study, according to this article, the cholesterol level of 45 volunteers dropped by 17% after eating avocados for only one week.

Wow. After eating avocados for only one week they got that much benefit? It turns out that this fruit is very healthy!

Avocados are high in fat but mostly monounsaturated fat which is one of the good kinds of fat. Other sources of monounsaturated fat include olive oil and nuts.

Because avocados are high in fat they are commonly used as a meat substitute.

Avocado is commonly used to make guacamole, the Mexican food dip. You can also slice it and use it on sandwiches, hamburgers, or hot dogs. I would not recommend eating hot dogs though!

The health diaries web page lists all the health benefits of Avocado. The list includes benefits such as oral cancer defense, prostate cancer prevention, eye health, heart health, better nutrient absorption, and stroke prevention.

The article also says it's as an excellent source of Glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease. And last but not least avocado is an excellent source of Vitamin E.

Avocados look like green pears. They are similar in density too, with a smooth density consistency. Like a pear, they have one large seed in the middle.

Another great use of avocado is in a smoothie shake. We've made smoothies consisting of bananas, strawberries, avocado, spinach, ice, blueberries, and other fruits. Those are definitely healthy smoothies!

Do an internet search for foods that lower cholesterol, or heart healthy foods and you'll find avocado on most every list.

Avocado seems to be a super healthy food. I plan on eating a lot more avocados.

And here's another thing I like about avocados. The nutrients they contain are natural and pure. No need to worry about the quality of those nutrients like we do when shopping for supplements.

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Latest Research Showing Common Recommendations Are Bad For You

There is a growing body of evidence that shows the common recommendations for keeping a heart attack at bay may actually do more harm than good.

Take for an example statins. Most people have heard that statins increase the risk of diabetes and greatly increase the onset if a person is already susceptible. Now, the FDA requires that statins come with a side effect warning of memory loss. Plus, in the Journal of Diabetes , a new study shows a link between statin use and peripheral neuropathy.

The study found “The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy was significantly higher among those who used statins compared to those who did not …” which is a 75% increase in relative risk.

Published in the Journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters , “The study confirmed that long-term treatment with statins caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when the treatment lasts longer than 2 years.”

Another common prescription for heart disease, especially to ward off a heart attack is to take a daily aspirin. Not only has research shown the effect of a daily aspirin diminishes over the course of a couple of years, because requiring higher doses, but the aspirin itself damages the lining of the stomach and the liver. It increases the risk of ulcers and can decrease the effectiveness of the liver. When liver function is decreed, a dangerous build-up of medications and other biological toxins can accumulate in the blood. A liver that is not functioning well can also increase the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes.

In the Rotterdam Scan Study, analysis showed those patients who took platelet aggregation inhibitors, such as aspirin, were about 71 percent more likely to have cerebral microbleeds visible on MRI. This can increase the risk of aneurysm. Also, because of the anti-clotting purpose of the aspirin, the bleeding is increased, as is the risk of damage.

Finally, in a study that has received little attention, a study has shown a daily dose of aspirin that can increase the risk of macular degeneration. In the Journal of the American Medical Association , the researchers concluded: “Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of … macular degeneration.”

If you are taking a statin or aspirin, it's your right to talk to your doctor about changing your medication and taking steps to get off medication all together. A proper diet that is high in fruits and vegetables has been the only thing shown to have consistent and side effect free effect on heart disease. Shopping local can improve your health and the economy.

It's easy to include the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Keep a good variety on hand and add lots to soups, stews, bakes and crock pots. For those lunch-times, add 2 servings of frozen veggies to a dish, sprinkle heavy with spices and then microwave at work. It will fill you up more and taste much better than the pre-frozen meals.

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High Blood Pressure And Weight

Most of the diseases are linked to each other. That means if you are suffering from disease A that will likely accompany disease B and B will invite another one. So once you suffer from a disease whether it be a major one or a minor one and you do not take it seriously, there are fair chances that it will invite several other diseases creating serious problems for you in the long-run.

High blood pressure and weight are two such linked diseases. Overweight is the one that hosts high blood pressure, and then high blood pressure invites heart issues and so on.

So how these two illnesses are linked to each other? Let's see.

It all starts with overweight. When you gain weight, your body starts storing fat. This makes blood vessels clogged. As your body gain weight, these arteries shrink and become thin. So what happens is blood can not move freely inside these vessels. Consequently, heart has to exert lots of force to pump blood to entire body. It is the responsibility of the heart to provide blood to each and every single cell of the body, and if for any reason, any cell does not get the blood it sends signals to brain that “I am not getting the nutrients and oxygen from blood “. Brain sends the same signal to heart and it pumps harder to make sure that every cell gets what it wants through proper blood circulation.

So when arteries become thin, blood can not move freely and heart pumps harder and harder. This is what we call high blood pressure because the pressure has now been increased in the vessels.

With the passage of time, heart becomes weak because it has to work hard and exert lots of effort than it is actually capable of, leading to heart attacks and other heart problems.

What you can do if you are overweight? I mean what is the solution.

Well it is pretty sure and we all know what we have to do if we are overweight. Yes, we need to do exercise and there is nothing better than exercise for someone who is overweight. No need to do anything else, just join a gym, do high intensity workouts and burn as much calories as you can. Do not waste your time at diet, herbal treatments, laser treatments and weigh reduction supplements. At the end of the day, you will not go to gain anything and you will have to switch to exercise, so why not start off with it at the first place.

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