Keep Health Concerns in Perspective

newsAre you always searching for health headlines? There are more scary ones than encouraging ones, addressing the air you breathe to the food you eat, all promoting ‘fear’. Realizing that your body can be vulnerable no matter every perfect step you take for health can help you maintain a mentally healthy perspective.

Fear and stress can go hand in hand to decrease the benefits of a healthy meal.  As you metabolize the meal your mental health can interfere with digestion and absorption as food travels in your system.

Listen to your body, be grateful for your health, and realize you can get sick! Some health matters are out of our control.

Mental health (check Doc’s meditation blog) is critical, stressing and fearing for your health will not save you.

 

 

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Dry Saunas Can Lower Heart Problems

finland-saunasYes, I blog allot about the heart – what is good and bad for it – perhaps it is because in the USA over 550,000 die each year from heart attack the Number 1 cause of death. FYI – stroke is No. 5!

Now for what Finnish researchers* have found – dry sauna use impacts the risk for sudden cardiac arrest (heart suddenly stops) as well as coronary artery disease. Following men age 42-60, researches noted those using sauna 4 times a week for over 19 minutes despite presence of cardiac risk factors (smoking HBP, cholesterol level, weight) had a statistically significant positive effect on long term survival.

Worth the time form this evidence however exactly what is it about the sauna experience perhaps a meditative state that we know contributes to total health.

 

*JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 23, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8187

 

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Hot Flashes/Nite Sweats

Like many other conditions certain groups of women have different menopausal experiences. I am talking years! If you start with menopause symptoms (sx. nite sweats, hot flashes) before actual menopause your sx will last longer. If sx start post menopause, they will be short lived (@3.1 yrs.). Japanese women have a shorter duration versus African Americans whose sx can last 10 years post menopause.

Antidotal findings correlate alcohol use with increase of sx. Should you have lifestyle disruption seek medical help including looking for natural antidotes.

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Coffee Is Good for Your Heart!

Out of South Korea comes a study that correlates a positive effect on the heart for coffee drinking young MH900448673and middle-aged people. Those without any signs of heart disease who drank 3- 5 cups of coffee a day faired better in scanning for calcium deposits (higher calcium score more plaque blocking the heart artery). Researchers measured the calcium deposits in the coronary arteries (heart) of individuals with an average age of 41.3 (followed for 2 years) and found statistically significant lower scores pointing to the benefits of caffeine. Noted was that coffee increases insulin’s sensitivity. The insulin made by the pancreas acts in an improved manner on the blood glucose (sugar). In addition, coffee decreases the bad LDL-cholesterol in the blood.

Hence the inverse relationship between caffeine consumption and associated cardiac risk was found correcting for age, sex, as well as education level, exertion level, smoking, family history, alcohol consumption, and diet of fruits, vegetables, and red and processed meats.

 IMPORTANT: More than 5 cups/day had a detrimental effect on calcium scores.

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Hygiene & Allergies

MH900030192The increased number of asthma and allergic reaction sufferers has lead to physicians to re-examine why.

The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ has been around for over 25 years but it is still a ‘hypothesis’. This has been perpetuated by numerous epidemiologic and animal studies.

 Idea is that the more hygienic one’s early life is, the more likely when exposed to allergens & microbes, an allergic disease and/or asthma will result. Here is ‘how it goes’, not being exposed in utero or childhood to dust, microbes (bacteria virus etc.) causes the body when exposed to over respond with an exaggerated immune response (asthma, hay fever and eczema). Research has gone so far as to find that foreign-born American children were significantly less likely to have developed one or more of these diseases than US-born children up to age 10. Furthermore over a lifetime the significance of this hypothesis is unknown.

Folklore has it that being born and raised on a farm decreases likelihood of developing an allergic disease and/or asthma. Well it is so worldwide. A study in Switzerland of Amish farm children versus city children showed statistically significant differences (farm-7.2% compared to about 44%-city) in allergic diseases. In addition, Korean children given antibiotics in infancy were more likely to develop allergic rhinitis and eczema.

Many theorize that gene variations can be a factor. The final word is not in on sanitary hand gel use and immunity.

 

 

 

 

 

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Peanuts May Be Good For The Heart

Recent studies of lower and middle socio economic groups of African Americans and Chinese men and women showed an inverse association of nut (predominantly peanut) consumption and death from heart disease. Furthermore eating peanuts decreased respiratory disease and cancer.peanuts

Yes technically the peanut is not a nut since it grows in a bush and not a tree but they are inexpensive easily available and GOOD for your heart!

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology specifically includes nuts as part of a recommended dietary pattern to reduce atherosclerotic risk. A detailed in depth paper is worth a read or a skim there is a good table of contents to assist.

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Netflix Helps Fight Flu!

MH900018355I believe it, don’t you?

Present day tech resources allowed for a study of TV and flu spread! A joint study just completed by economists and epidemiologists (professionals trained to study and tract diseases) was published in medical journal (BMC Infectious Disease – BioMedicalCentral).

A key factor to decreasing initial spread of A/H1N1 virus (swine flu) was “social distancing behavior’ staying home and includes watching TV.

Times spend at home when ill – rather than going to work or out in public – with flu symptoms made a dramatic difference in spread.

Perhaps this study offers an argument for a Netflix subscription?

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Eat A Rainbow

So much nutritional advice out there. Every health professional and magazine tells you about eating correctly, but who can remember which veggie or fruit is important for what?

A simple way to impact your health is to eat a combination of colors. Phytonutrients are specific for ‘jobs’ in the body ex. blueberries find there way to the brain for memory and learning. Phytonutrients are present in whole grains nuts, seeds and even spices/herbs.

I am blogging about overall health improvement; there are certain illnesses that necessitate specific rather than this general approach to diet. To get a diversity of phytonutrients think ‘RAINBOW’.Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.35.18 PM

Load up on produce, aim for 9-13 servings a day (a serving is half-cup). At each meal place colors on your plate; RED, YELLOW, ORANGE, GREEN, BLUE/PURPLE, WHITE/TAN. Make your meals interesting try a color from a new source each week. Combining to enhance has tremedous health value- pair olive oil herbs on your dandelion greens. You might ask how to eat so much, add greens to omelets, soups, pizza sandwich. Stop and think as you arrange a meal. You can do it! Start your children eating for a long life.

There is part of the new paradigm in medicine – ‘functional medicine‘ – approaching our body in totality not as medicine has been – disease focused treating isolated symptoms. I personally am glad medicine is going towards prevention and treating a person not the disease.

 

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Chewing Gum and Exercising – No!

Ever been told ‘get rid of the gum’? There are many good reasons not to be exerting while chewing.  You do not think you’d choke – but it is a hazard! Chewing and trying to breathe thru your mouth does not come naturally also it results in a lower respiratory rate and increase stress on your trapezius muscle (base skull to between shoulder blades, in humans first muscular reaction to stress).Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 8.27.34 AM

Chewing_gumEven sugar free gum creates a risk; Aspartame (one of common artificial sweeteners) studies have shown it can over stimulate nerve endings causing muscular stress.

Do not discount the ‘number’ all artificial sweeteners do on your digestive tract!

Do you chew for the taste? I suggest brush your teeth with a different product or use a new mouthwash.

If you believe chewing gum prevents a dry mouth – your body is saying drink more water when you exercise.

Please share your insights to share?

 

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Valentine Day Chocolate

A guiltless gift for your Valentine is chocolate. But first read this blog! Take a cocoa bean remove the natural fats (cocoa butter) and cocoa powder is left for making ‘chocolate’ goodies. Rich in flavanols, a strong antioxidants many of us indulge!

Several studies point to lowers rates of cardiovascular risk – lowers blood pressure, increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Research also suggests another benefit – memory improvement.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.12.33 AMDon’t forget chocolate products especially bars contain caffeine as much as 56mg in Ghirardelli’s Organic Green & Black 85%. A chocolate bar’s  ‘Supplemental Facts‘ do not list caffeineYou’ll be impressed how much iron is contained but it is poorly absorbed. However, when you add Vitamin C to a cocoa powder drink children were found to absorb more iron.

The dark side no pun intended is contamination with toxic heavy metal cadmium (probable carcinogen). Lead is also a toxin in cocoa bars. Like lead and other heavy metals it accumulates in your body throughout life.

Cocoa comes the ‘bar’ in powders, capsules supplements and nibs and my favorite – traditional bar. Read a recent blog that offers more detail on this site.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

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