May 2013- Healthy Hearts

jpeg (2)Of all the world’s people, Americans are at the highest risk for heart disease. It kills more people than the next eight leading causes of death combined, and every year exceeds the total Americans killed in WWI and WWII combined. Experts tell us most heart disease is 100% preventable with changes in diet and lifestyle, yet a million people die each year because of heart problems. Two-thirds of Americans suffer from some kind of cardiovascular disorder. Billions have, and are, being spent to address its many forms. Today we see that natural therapies are proving to reduce mortality better than aggressive medical intervention or even the most advanced drug treatment.

Many cholesterol-lowering drugs can cause liver toxicity, stomach distress and vision impairment. They can also deplete CoQ-10, an essential co-enzyme that strengthens the heart. Studies show that calcium channel blockers (the top selling blood pressure drugs), block many body functions and are implicated in aggravated cardiovascular problems, too.

Do You Have High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is another major heart problem in our fast-paced, high-stress world. It affects 1 out of every 3 U.S. adults today and is the leading health problem for American women. Middle aged Americans actually have a 90% chance of developing high blood pressure!

Eighty-five percent of high blood pressure is preventable without drugs. In fact, a good diet is your best bet to control high blood pressure. Start by controlling your salt intake. Drink plenty of water to balance body salts. When your body perceives that it is becoming dehydrated, it responds by retaining sodium to stop further water loss, starting a vicious cycle of craving for salty foods and liquids that ends in high blood pressure.

Eliminate foods that provoke high blood pressure - salty canned and frozen foods, cured, smoked and canned meats and fish, commercial peanut butter, soy sauce, bouillon cubes and condiments, fried chips and snacks, dry soups.

Focus on a largely plant-based diet. Include: a wide range of fruits and vegetables, seafood and sea vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, low fat dairy foods (on occasion) and nuts and seeds. If your diet is strictly low-sodium, the sea vegetable nori (particularly nori that has been rinsed in fresh water before drying) has far less sodium than other sea vegetables. Eat vitamin C rich foods like peppers, kiwis, papayas, cauliflower and broccoli to strengthen the blood vessels and slow down hardening of the arteries.

Magnesium is Nature’s Calcium Channel Blocker. In Nature, calcium often appears in a balanced ratio with magnesium because magnesium has protective features to balance out any calcium overload on the heart. Eat more calcium and magnesium-rich dark green veggies, nuts and seeds, beans and poultry to reap the most benefits from each mineral.

Add B vitamin foods like nutritional yeast, wheat germ, fish and brown rice to build resistance against stress reactions that cause blood pressure to skyrocket.

Potassium controls heart rate, normalizes blood pressure fluctuations and flushes excess sodium in the body linked to high blood pressure. Duke University studies reveal that hypertensive men who supplement with potassium regain health and reduce their blood pressure. Potassium is easily brought in through foods like bananas, celery, apricots, seafood and nuts.

Reduce alcohol intake to only a little wine at night. Moderate alcohol drinking (especially wine) can relax the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Excessive alcohol intake, particularly from hard liquor, increases the pressure on in the arteries and causes blood pressure to soar.

Eliminate caffeine and nicotine for good. Both are notorious for raising blood pressure.

Very few people with hypertension require medication to control their disease. Millions can reverse high blood pressure with simple diet therapy.  If you have high blood pressure, take back control of your health by using your food as medicine. The recommendations here can help rebalance blood pressure and restore your health.

Are Your Homocysteine Levels Too High?

jpeg (1)Homocysteine is news today, but the connection between heart disease and homocysteine isn’t new. Homocysteine is a body substance that helps manufacture proteins and assist with cellular metabolism. It’s a harmless amino acid, but in excess, can cause blood platelets to clump and vein walls to break down, leading to atherosclerosis and coronary disease. Research linking heart disease to high homocysteine plasma levels began in 1969, when a Harvard pathologist, found severe atherosclerosis in children with very high homocysteine levels.

What We Know About High Homocysteine Today

New England Journal of Medicine study shows that people with high homocysteine levels are 4½ times more likely to die of heart disease than other people. New estimates are that 1 in 5 cardiac cases can be attributed to high homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels may be especially dangerous for women. Women with high homocysteine levels and low folic acid in the blood are twice as likely to have a heart attack as women with normal levels.

Diet and Lifestyle Can Infuence Homocysteine

A simple 3 point program shows protection in one to three months.

1. B vitamins come to your rescue. A high intake of folic acid and B6 lowers risk for cardiovascular disease 45% in women (February 1998 Journal of the AMA). Try B Complex, 100mg daily. Add 50mg extra of B6 and 400mcg extra of folic acid to help break down homocysteine.

2. Four garlic capsules (1200mg a day) maintain aortic elasticity.

3. Take daily ginger caps or extract. If you take aspirin to prevent a stroke or heart attack because aspirin inhibits an enzyme that makes the blood prone to dangerous stickiness, know that ginger not only inhibits this same enzyme but it does so without aspirin’s side effects like gastric bleeding. To Life-long health,

Linda Page

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