Posts Tagged ‘heart disease’
There over 10 years of studies that have shown definite health benefits for the users especially in its potential to fight diseases light cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes and stroke prevention. There have been reports of weight loss using green tea but are these real or just urban legend?
The apparent health benefits are becoming more and more evident in terms of weight loss using green tea. Studies have shown that consistently consume green tea can may begin to see a boosting of fat burning and metabolism, protection and boosting of the immune system, blocking fat absorption, promoting healthier skin, boosting of focus and cognitive function, fighting the aging process, protecting the body against diseases and promoting oral health.
How Does Green Tea Work?
It is derived from a shrub called Camellia sinensis. All teas that are sold commercially in fact come from this variety of Camellia with the difference in the tea products being how they are processed. The teas go through a process called oxidation; the more oxidized the Camellia leaves become the darker the finished product is. Oxidation is the aging of a cell or an organism. The benefits of green tea come from the fact that the nutritional components (like its antioxidant polyphenol) of the Camellia plant have not be processed out through this oxidation procedure.
Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals in our body. They are scavengers that actually neutralize free radicals by giving up an electron to the free radical to neutralize it. As our cells use oxygen, they produce free radicals as a bi-product which in turn can cause cell damage, mutation or even cell death. A good example of free radical damage is to cut open an apple and let it sit on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours. Over time you will notice that the apple begins to turn brown. That is oxidation or free radical damage which can result from everything from smoking to exercise. Free radicals are being tied to the onset of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke to name a few.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, the same phytochemical in red wine that has been linked to many health benefits like the prevention of cancer, heart disease and stroke. One antioxidant in particular that is responsible for increased weight loss is epigallocatechin gallate. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is responsible for stimulating the release of fat in to the blood stream and then flushed out of the body. This process is called “thermogenesis” or the production of heat in the body. The caffeine found in green tea assists in this process as well.
There is enough evidence to suggest that green tea can help with weight loss but the results you will likely see will be based on quality of green tea extract. It is important to make sure that any green tea product (or any supplement that for that matter) you use meets GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). These standards have been in place in the pharmaceutical industry for many years and many supplement companies are now beginning to adhere to these standards as well. GMPs require that the products have the active ingredients in them that are stated on the label as well as are pure and safe.
Cardiovascular disease is America’s number one killer, taking the lives of 37% of the people who die each year. 71.3 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, congenital cardiovascular defects, hardening of the arteries, and other diseases of the circulatory system. Cardiovascular disease cost Americans $403.1 billion in 2006 for medical costs and disability. Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol within healthy limits, and not smoking, are the three most important and controllable factors in preventing or stopping the progression of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, there are many natural methods for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and keeping cholesterol levels optimal. (Remember to consult with a qualified health care professional before starting any supplementation program. Just because they are natural, that does not mean that all supplements are safe for each individual case.)
Sodium RestrictionApproximately 40-50% of people with high blood pressure are sensitive to sodium intake. Reducing sodium intake is an important first step in reducing blood pressure. This requires restriction in adding salt to foods, as well as avoiding processed foods. Processed foods include canned vegetables, prepared foods, pickles, salted snacks, and foods containing MSG.
CalciumStudies have revealed that calcium supplementation of 1000-1500 mg per day lowers blood pressure. Calcium aids the kidneys in excreting sodium, and, along with magnesium (see below), helps to relax the smooth muscle lining of some blood vessels, which lowers diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
Magnesium600 mg per day of magnesium has been shown to decrease blood pressure. Magnesium helps the heart produce energy and beat regularly. Magnesium is found in almonds, lima beans, peanuts, seafood, and spinach, but many people do not get enough magnesium from their diets alone.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (also known as EPA/DHA, fish oil, or flaxseed oil) There are a multitude of studies that show that omega-3 supplementation is effective in reducing blood pressure. You need approximately 1000 mg twice per day to achieve this effect. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which compromises blood vessels.
This supplement also reduces clots and helps the heart beat regularly.
GarlicA garlic supplement with 4000 mcg of allicin, or between a half and a whole clove of garlic, daily, will lower blood pressure by about 20-30 mm Hg systolic (top number) and 10-20 mm Hg diastolic. It also reduces plaque in the arteries in people with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.) Garlic has been shown to improve the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol).
Coenzyme Q10Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation of 60 mg twice per day has consistently shown to lower blood pressure. It requires four to twelve weeks to take a noticeable effect. CoQ10 works by helping heart cells create energy, and is especially effective in people with heart failure. It also allows blood vessels to relax and widen, especially in the heart. In food, it is found in beef, broccoli, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, spinach, vegetable oil, and wheat germ.
Phytonutrient Fruit and Vegetable SupplementationA recent study has shown that subjects taking a green phytonutrient-rich fruit and vegetable powder for 90 days decreased systolic blood pressure by 12.4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 7.1 mm Hg when compared to a control group. The powder consisted of micro algae, barley grass juice powder, multiple fruit and vegetable powders, lecithin, acerola cherry, fermented cabbage, milk thistle, plant enzymes, quinoa sprout, lemon peel, oat beta-glucan, soluble rice bran, green and white tea extracts, resveratrol, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, cinnamon, raspberry, is quercitin-rutin, and aloe vera. The study showed that the benefit of phytonutrients is much stronger when the nutrition of multiple fruits and vegetables are taken together, rather than consumed as isolated nutrients.
Resveratrol, a compound found in high amounts in the phytonutrient powder, and also commonly found in red wine and grape juice, improves blood flow within the brain, which decreases the chances of stroke. It also helps fight obesity and type2 diabetes, two risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and hardens damaged heart tissue.
Vitamin C, which was also found in high amounts in the powder, helps increase blood vessel flexibility and reduces LDL oxidation. Nutritionally, it is found in citrus fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and tomato juice.
The potassium in the powder helps control blood pressure by regulating water balance. It is also required for proper electrical impulse transmission within the heart. It is found in beans, milk, vegetables, and most fruits.
Folic acid was also high in the powder. It is found in beans, citrus juice, peas, and green leafy vegetables. It reduces homocysteine, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
GuggulThis supplement is found in gum taken from the myrrh tree. It has been shown to simultaneously decrease LDL levels while raising HDL levels.
HawthornThis botanical opens blood vessels, reduces blood pressure, and improves oxygen usage in the heart. Its usage in heart-related conditions dates back to Greco-Roman times.
Reishi MushroomThis Chinese mushroom is now commercially grown in northern Asia and North American. It has been shown to decrease blood pressure and LDL levels, and also helps prevent blood clots.
ArginineArginine is an amino acid is found in chocolate, dairy, fish, meat and nuts. It counteracts blood vessel constriction. High levels of arginine are inversely proportional to levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a telltale marker of inflammation.
NiacinNiacin, or nicotinic acid, one of the water-soluble B vitamins, improves all cholesterol levels when given in doses well above the recommended daily allowance. It is inexpensive and widely accessible without a prescription but must not be used for cholesterol lowering without the monitoring of a physician because of the potential side effects. The most common side effect is flushing or hot flashes, which are the result of the widening of blood vessels. Most people develop a tolerance to flushing, and it can be decreased by taking it during or after meals, or by taking a slow-release form. People on nicotinic acid are usually started on low daily doses and gradually increased to an average daily dose of 1.5 to 3 grams per day. ConclusionThere is a plethora of research that supports the use of supplementation and natural interventions in controlling the risk of cardiovascular disease. In some cases, they can reduce the need for medication, which helps reduce the chances of side effects from these drugs. In other cases, natural interventions, along with dietary changes and exercise, are all that are needed to control blood pressure.
“Definition of Cholesterol Lowering With Niacin.” Medicine Net. Found online at http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9489. 30 May 2007.
Heart Facts 2006: All Americans. American Heart Association: 2006.
“Heart Smart Nutrients.” Energy Times Feb. 2005: 25-27.
Maher, John, DC, DCCN, FAAIM. “The Logan Study: Hypertension and Phytonutrient-Rich Fruit and Vegetable Supplementation.” Dynamic Chiropractic 7 May 2007: 22-24.
“Pressure Relief Remedies.” Energy Times Feb. 2007: 25-27.
Stillwell, William J, DC. “Reducing High Blood Pressure: Natural Choices.” Clinic News Update 2003: 1-3.
Every day, 4,000 Americans suffer from heart attacks. Those who are lucky enough to recover often suffer another (and often fatal) attack later on. Heart disease — the No. 1 cause of death in the United States — kills more than twice as many people as all forms of cancer. The good news is that it’s largely preventable, and taking steps to minimize your risk can add up to 10 years to your life.
Some risk factors are beyond your control; for example, heredity (cardiovascular disease tends to run in families), ethnicity (African-Americans and Native Americans are at higher risk), and age (four of five deaths from heart disease occur in people over age 65). But there are lifestyle factors you can control that will help prevent (or at least postpone) cardiovascular problems.
You really are what you eat. If you typically consume a large amount of high-fat foods, you’re contributing to the build-up of plaque in your arteries, and plaque impedes blood flow. If a blockage occurs in an artery that carries blood to the heart, it causes a heart attack. If a blockage occurs in an artery that carries blood to the brain, it causes a stroke. A healthy diet, however, helps keep your arteries clear and your blood flowing freely. Try these tips:
- Eat more fish, and skinless chicken and turkey.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits. Oranges, bananas, potatoes and tomatoes, for example, supply your body with potassium, which may help control blood pressure. They also provide essential antioxidant vitamins.
- Eat more fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, rice, wheat bran, barley and beans.
- Bake, broil, steam or grill foods rather than frying.
- Try sherbet, ice milk or frozen low-fat yogurt instead of ice cream.
- Avoid adding salt to foods at the table. Cutting back on sodium may help lower blood pressure.
- If you drink beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation (two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink daily for women).
Maintain a healthy body weight
The best way to do this is to make sure the calories you consume do not exceed the calories you burn. Being overweight (15 pounds or more) increases your risk for cardiovascular problems because excess body weight forces your heart to work harder and less efficiently. If you’re overweight, losing 5-10 percent of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. If you need to lose, focus on a gradual weight reduction of one or two pounds per week.
Regular exercise is essential for a healthy heart. Because it’s a muscle, it gets stronger with regular exercise like any other muscle in your body. To get the most benefit, you need aerobic exercise (brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling) at least three times a week for 30 minutes. But even if you think you don’t have time for an exercise routine, there are ways to strengthen your heart muscle: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot when you go to the mall. Do housework or yardwork at a quicker pace and more often (like vacuuming, or hoeing the garden every day). Get out of your chair to change the TV channel rather than using the remote.
Smokers are up to three times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Nicotine injures the lining of blood vessels and increases the build-up of fatty deposits, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Exposure to other people’s smoke (second-hand smoke) can also increase your risk.
Stress can adversely affect your heart health. It can raise your blood pressure and injure the arteries due to increased blood flow during the stress response. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and massage can often help lower your stress level.
The holiday season offers more office and neighborhood parties, family get togethers, and community events than any other time of year. If you’re one of the many Boomers living in party central, you’ve most likely asked the question: “Is drinking harmful or beneficial and how much is good/bad for me?” How many times have we heard that the French eat plenty of high fat foods, but have much lower risk for heart disease than we Americans, due to the antioxidant benefits of red wine? Well, the bad news for those of us Boomers who imbibe is – it may not be the wine!
Here are the results of my research on this topic:
The Mayo clinic cautions that moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit only if you’re an older adult male or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol. If you’re a middle-aged or younger adult, some evidence shows that even moderate alcohol use may cause more harm than good. In fact, if you’re a woman and drink alcohol, studies have shown a higher risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol use. Docs at the Mayo Clinic recommend taking other steps to get your cardiovascular benefit, like eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits that contain your antioxidants and exercising regularly, for example. The good Docs Mercola and Weill both agree with Mayo. Both say that consuming large amounts of alcohol raises insulin levels, which is bad news for your body. And our favorite TV doctor, Oz, states that youth comes in a bottle filled with Olive Oil, not wine!
Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, was the lead author of a New England Journal of Medicine study examining the roles of drinking patterns and heart disease. They found, after 12 years of follow-up, that men who consumed alcohol between three and seven days a week, considered moderate drinking, had fewer heart attacks than men who drank once a week. The study also found, that even heavy drinking did not increase the risk of heart disease. More study is needed, but these results suggest that the benefit might not have anything to do with alcohol consumption, but rather engaging is social activities.
What I did find was that it’s difficult to put together any single piece of evidence on benefits or risks of moderate drinking because of the many different study results. The potential risks and benefits vary greatly depending on a person’s health history, their age, sex and family history.
There was one study which discovered a serious risk that I must share with you though, and it’s not related to the benefits or risks of alcohol consumption, but rather mixing alcohol and Tylenol. According to recent University of Southern California research, when you drink, alcohol is broken down into harmless components by your liver. However, while the liver is busy doing its job on the alcohol, it is vulnerable to serious damage by acetaminophen. People who drink heavily – “heavily” being three mixed drinks, a six-pack of beer, or a liter of wine on a near-daily basis – should skip the Tylenol (or generic acetaminophen) tablets! I was surprised to find that the FDA currently recommends that anyone consuming more than three alcoholic beverages per day should not take acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain medications.
So, it looks like we Baby Boomers should stick to one glass of wine (or less) with dinner once in a while for now. My brother Joe’s favorite saying is “everything in moderation!” and I guess he’s right on this topic.
Best of Health,
You can’t ignore all the good news that is coming out about antioxidants. And somehow, for many people, antioxidants is like a black box.
Let me explain…
You see, when someone starts talking about healthy benefits and body parts — a lot of people’s eyes start to glaze over…
They just don’t care about the small details. They just want to know the fact ma’am…
OK. You got it buddy…
Let’s put out a definition of antioxidants just to clear up the air. Antioxidants are chemicals help your body remove the cancer causing, free-radicals. Free-radicals are the bad guys… they are bad dudes that are up to no good. And the removing these dangerous elements can help you look and feel younger because it slows down the aging process.
Did I mention that free-radicals make you look older? How does one get free-radicals? Well, the truth of the matter is you can’t avoid getting free-radicals in your system. You can generate free-radicals just by exercising. Eating crappy foods. Smoking!
Which reminds me, many times when I look at my friends that smoke… they actually look older than they really are! I still have no idea why smoking makes one look cool. Looking older than your age definitely is a deal breaker here…
But let’s just move on…
Free-radicals are linked to cancer, heart diseases and all kinds of degenerative diseases that makes us look older and shortens our life spans.
Nasty stuff huh?
So in comes the good guys — the antioxidants to save the day! And not only that, antioxidants also aids our recovery from exercises by helping reduce or eliminate free-radicals from the muscles. so the very act of helping our muscles remove free-radicals which means faster recovery time!
So where can we pick up some antioxidants? Look no further from your kitchen! Some great sources of antioxidants are berries, teas, coffee, red wine and… dark chocolates! There are tons of other sources of antioxidants so be sure to look for them.
A couple of things to keep in mind when drinking teas and coffee. Go for the organic teas and coffees. Let’s not add toxic chemical from bug spray into our bodies… right? And let’s not go crazy with dark chocolate. It still has sugar in it which raises our blood sugar and converts excess energy into… fat!
Just be sensible here… drink and eat moderately.
The key thing to remember is that antioxidants helps your muscles recover from workouts faster by removing the dangerous free-radicals. You will feel better and work out harder. And by doing that, you will be adding muscles and burning up fat! Which is by the way, a very good thing.